Addiction Recovery Process
The addiction recovery
process is a paradox, in that, in some ways it is the same for
everyone and in other ways, each person's journey is unique. And,
as a process, recovery cannot be put on a timeline.
This idea frustrates
many who first go down the road to recovery who want to know how
many days this phase or that phase may take. If addiction recovery
were a procedure, one may be able to build an MS Project timeline
for it, but since it's a process no such timeline can be built.
The addiction recovery process involves five broad steps including
giving up denial, seeking help, going through detoxification, working
the recovery program and maintaining sobriety.
The first step of recovery is breaking through the denial
in addiction. The substance abuser has to acknowledge that
they do indeed have a problem and are out-of-control when it comes
to dealing with the problem. Many times, there is a precipitating
event that will help get the addict out of denial such as a DUI
(DWI in some states), accident, death of a friend or family member
from similar causes, or an intervention with family and friends.
Once the person abusing
drugs or alcohol has admitted to themselves that
there is a problem, the next step is that they addict has to be
motivated enough to take action. If the person simply admits they
have a problem but is not motivated enough to make a change, the
chances for recovery are nil.
Now, once the person admits they have an addiction and are
willing to take action to make a change, the next step is
to seek help. This help could be in the form of an alcohol
or drug rehab program,
from a group such as a 12-step group, even through their employee
assistance program or through their church. Some will go straight
into individual counseling as well. There are many avenues
in which to seek help and this is part of the "individual"
nature of addiction that is also share by many.
No matter which avenue is chosen to begin with, one of the
next steps to recovery is to stop using and start going through
the withdrawal process. The substance abuser many wish to
check into a detox
rehab center in order to safely facilitate this process
as the process itself may be fatal for severe addicts or for
those with other serious medical problems.
Depending upon the severity
of the drug or alcohol problem, the person's age,
the length of the addiction and general temperament of the substance
abuser they may wish to next seek help in an inpatient,
rehab center to continue their recovery. Most of these rehab
centers also offer detoxification programs onsite. Many rehabilitation
centers, like this one here,
offer a relaxing and peaceful setting so one can get away from
every day stresses and focus on recovery. For only moderately
severe cases of addiction, the addict may want to try recover
through other means such as individual therapy and a 12-step program
or other addiction group.
Addiction recovery is fraught with pitfalls and unrealistic expectations.
For instance, many of the same thoughts, beliefs, patterns, cravings,
feelings and behavior tend to happen over and over again through
the recovery process. Those in recovery from substance abuse need
to have realistic expectations about these recurring themes in
the road to recovery. Denial will come and go and relapses are
common even though the addict is headed in the right direction.
Minimizing contact with
enablers and toxic people
will be another step in the road to recovery as will building
a healthier support group and finding healthier substitutes for
the addiction. For instance, when some people feel the cravings
for their drugs of choice, they may want to choose a healthy substitute
such as exercise, meditation, prayer or some other activity that
will help until the cravings go away.
Addicts may need many services such as medical, psychological,
individual therapy, group therapy, 12-step or 12-step alternative
groups, employee assistance, legal assistance, transportation
and emotional support from family and friends in order to
gain and maintain their sobriety. Once the addict has developed
a new, healthier support system, as has some time in recovery
under their belts, they may need additional community support
and /or may wish to help their own sobriety by helping others
through religious groups or through activism and advocacy.
Most recovering addicts see sobriety as a lifelong process that
has to be worked every day, one day at a time, for as long as
they live. The benefits, however, far outweigh the amount of effort
put into an entire life of clean and sober living.