The United Nations reports that cocaine use has reached record levels all over the globe and continues to play a dominant role in drug overdose deaths, particularly when paired with opioids. The United States currently represents the largest established market for cocaine and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that nearly 2% of the US population ages 12 and older used the powerful stimulant in 2020.
Considering the damage cocaine does to your mind and body, not to mention that just one bad fentanyl-laced hit could kill you instantly, the best time to quit is right now.
A note of caution – Although cocaine withdrawal doesn’t necessarily cause the same intensity of symptoms that you would see with quitting heroin or methamphetamines, the consequences of stopping “cold turkey” without the guidance of an addiction recovery center professional can be severe, and sometimes even deadly.
Typical withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Increased anxiety, paranoia
- Agitation, restlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Impaired memory
- Slowed heart rate and motor functions
- Poor concentration
- Hypersomnia or insomnia
Most of our staff here at Renaissance Ranch, a rehab for men in Utah, are on their own recovery journeys and will be the first to tell you that detox will put you through the wringer, physically and mentally. The process can last anywhere from a few to several weeks and will take commitment and endurance.
“I can promise you, getting clean will be worth the effort,” explains Preston Dixon, COO at Renaissance. “I’ve been in your shoes, and you will come out on the other side stronger and better equipped to begin walking your own path to recovery.”
In that spirit, we want to share with you five things that we hope will help as you go through the challenging process of detoxification:
1. Get Professional, Faith-Based Addiction Recovery Support
Don’t try to go through this undertaking on your own. Substance abuse thrives in shame and isolation. The more you stay trapped inside your negative thoughts and desires to hide from the world, the more power your addiction will have over you. Letting yourself be vulnerable and asking for help will open you to healing in ways you never imagined possible.
Professional drug rehabs provide clinically-proven therapies and support groups, medication assistance, daily educational programming, and recreational activities to get into the right headspace while you’re healing.
Research also shows that people with substance use disorder (SUD) stay sober longer and relapse less often when they experience a spiritual awakening during treatment. A Christian-based rehabilitation center or other faith-focused program like Narcotics Anonymous helps those battling substance abuse to recognize that a higher power loves them unconditionally. If they give themselves over to His guidance, this higher power, or God, can strengthen them in their fight for lifelong sobriety.
2. Build a Solid Support Network
You want to pull in closer to the people who will help you avoid triggers and other tempting situations and have a vested interest in seeing you sober. This often includes your spouse, siblings, parents, good friends, and peers in treatment. If you belong to a faith community, your support group may also encompass ecclesiastical leaders and fellow parishioners.
A great way to strengthen your network is through education. Many drug and alcohol rehabs offer free or low-fee classes and webinars to help your family and friends better understand addiction, its nature as a chronic disease, and what they can do to support you in recovery once formal treatment has ended.
In addition, look for addiction recovery centers with alumni groups. These organizations sponsor regular get-togethers and retreats, encouraging members to stay in touch and accountable to each other throughout the rest of their lives. They also offer an excellent place to turn when cravings are high and you are in danger of relapse, or you just want to talk with someone who understands your situation.
3. Keep a Regular Routine
The well-known adage, “Idle hands are the Devil’s playground,” couldn’t be more true when it comes to substance detoxification and treatment. It’s critical to have a full schedule and stick to it when coming off of cocaine, or any other drug, for that matter. Empty minutes and hours can quickly turn into thinking about what you’re missing and trigger intense cravings before you know it.
This is where a residential detox program can really help. Group and individual therapy sessions, medical check-ups, exercise, recreation, meditation, and other activities fill your days, so you don’t have much time to dwell on old habits.
Participating in an outpatient plan will also keep you busy, but you must ensure that you fill your free time with things that will keep your mind and body occupied, such as reading, working on a new hobby, exercising, etc.
4. Stay Well-Nourished and Hydrated
Several things happen to your body when you’re on cocaine – you rarely sleep, forget to eat regular meals, and don’t drink nearly enough water. This can result in drastic weight loss, malnourishment, dehydration, and generally foul up your digestive and urinary systems. Smoking crack cocaine can also do a number on your lungs, depleting your body’s overall oxygen levels.
Your detox menu needs to include water, water, and more water. Although it doesn’t contain any nutrients, water flushes the toxins out of your system so you can heal faster. Always keep a large jug of water nearby, drinking and refilling at least three to four times a day, especially during the first few weeks of withdrawal.
It’s critical to eat three meals a day, plus healthy snacks. Consider healthy foods that will boost your energy, mood, and brain function: healthy carbohydrates, leafy vegetables, nuts, bananas, oats, fish and other things rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, avocados, ginger, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, and E. Antioxidants like berries, tomatoes, dark chocolate, artichokes, and spinach will help detox your system, as well.
5. Find Fun Ways to De-Stress
Incorporate exercise, meditation, prayer, painting, or other enjoyable activities into your daily schedule so that you’re taking regular breaks from the stressors you face each day. Staying active increases your endorphins, improving mood and energy levels, while engaging in creative projects gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
While you may think screen time (on phones, computers, or televisions) is one of the easiest and best ways to relax and tune out your troubles, that’s not necessarily true. Research shows that people who spend too much time glued to their electronic devices may suffer from sleep deprivation, migraines, posture and vision issues, and increased anxiety and depression. That’s not to say you should never watch another episode of “Friends” or enjoy Friday movie night with the family. We’re simply saying not to make screen time your primary source of relaxation.
You have the power to give yourself a happier, healthier life by quitting cocaine, so don’t let a fear of detox keep you from reaching out for help. If you have any questions about how to get started on your recovery, give us a call at 855-736-7262.