Addiction is Hell on Earth. A regular, happy individual changes into a fluent liar, a thief, an individual with no self-respect, and no boundaries – all that matters is the next fix. Drug addiction is not a solitary illness – the addict’s family goes through their own private Hell.
Recovery is possible, but it’s a hard row to hoe; the first step is usually involuntary, and whether or not it works depends on the addict. Depending on how you define rehab and success, the numbers you typically find when you look up statistics are not encouraging.
Some feel traditional rehab methods are ineffective and outdated, and push using medication-based rehab in addition to other therapies; however, traditional treatments do work. The main focus should be on therapy for the individual, not on a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
1. Get into Detox
The first step in tackling addiction is to free your body from the need for whatever drug you’re hooked on; this means detoxing out of your body. Entering detox is usually an automatic process – either the addict’s family stages an intervention and puts the addict in the detox facility, or it’s part of a court-ordered treatment; however, some addicts do enter detox on their own. Surviving the process is an ordeal, but it’s a necessary one to start the recovery process.
2. Enter a Rehabilitation Program
Getting into a rehab program after detox puts the addict into a long-term recovery program. Rehab is often court-ordered; whether or not the addict completes the initial rehab depends on many factors – the addict, the program itself, the family commitment to the addict’s rehabilitation – but completion of the program does not guarantee success. The most successful rehab programs, such as the San Antonio drug rehab center Infinite Recovery, keep the addict involved beyond the initial rehab. Staying involved keeps the commitment to success higher than just releasing a graduate back into society.
3. Attend Narcotics Anonymous
Some feel support programs such as Narcotics Anonymous are a waste of time; however, having the support of fellow recovering addicts is invaluable. Recovering from addiction is hard – talking with people who are on the same journey can keep an addict on course; going through it alone can be tempting and quite hard. Attending meetings is the key – the group support can talk an addict through a crisis, or encourage them to keep going.
4. Follow a 12-Step Program
Narcotics Anonymous, like Alcoholics Anonymous, is a 12-step program; most traditional rehab programs also utilize a 12-step philosophy. Whether or not the addict believes in a higher power, the philosophy in the steps is a sound guide for staying clean and getting your life back together. However, believing in a higher power, whether or not it’s a religious God, can support an addict through the inevitable downs in life.
The steps guide the addict through making restitution and amends to those they’ve wronged while hooked. They also give the addict support when some of those abused refuse forgiveness, and help keep the recovering addict on the road to full recovery.
5. Have Your Family Attend a Support Group
While the addict has the hard road, the addict’s family also has issues to resolve, and getting support from others who’ve gone down the same path is invaluable. Narcotics Anonymous has meetings for the family members and friends of recovering addicts, and there are many other options available. Open the search engine of your choice and type “family support groups for addiction” and press the “Enter” key. You’ll get results for 12-step and non-12-step programs, both volunteer and for-pay.
6. Change Your Lifestyle
One of the crucial factors in a successful recovery from addiction is for the addict to walk away from all sources of temptations; this means walking away from friends, acquaintances, and family members who enabled the drug use. That is one of the hardest parts of recovery and takes a strong commitment to get and stay clean; it often involves moving away from home and everything familiar and starting over in a completely different environment.
Often, the rehab program will offer the graduate a half-way house arrangement, where the recovering addict can stay on at the rehab center while they get their feet under them in the area around the center. The recovering addict can establish a working relationship, find living accommodations, and start making new friends. If the recovering addict does believe in a religious God, they can find a church in the area and start volunteering in church-related missions. Giving back is an essential requirement of a 12-step program, and serving in a church is one right way to start.
7. Take it One Day at a Time
Facing the future is overwhelming at times, even for the most well-adjusted among us, and for a recovering addict, it’s terrifying, not just at times but all the time. An addict has to remain in the present, or s/he will drown in uncertainty and anxiety; this is a direct path back to using.
It may sound a bit cliché, but the phrase, “One Day at a Time,” is how any recovering addict has to live their life. Worrying about past mistakes and stressing about the future are mistakes a recovering addict cannot make; either one will push the addict back into using. Focusing on each day as it comes and making plans to deal with any situation as it arises is the best way to keep the stress level down to a manageable one, and keeping up with support groups will help the recovering addict stay focused.
As an addict stays clean for more extended periods, they can allow some plans to enter their thoughts, but they still need to remain grounded in the present; one day at a time is a life-time philosophy, and a good one. It can help keep a recovering addict as a recovering addict instead of a relapsed one.
Some rehab centers believe an addict can fall off the wagon briefly, but as long as the addict gets back on the wagon quickly, the rehab center still considers it a win. Others feel any fall off the wagon is a severe problem, and they want the addict to stay sober, period. Falling off the wagon for an alcoholic is problematic, but they can usually get back on the cart without a problem. Addicting narcotics is not the same, so a fall off the wagon can easily be the start of using it as a way of life again. It all depends on the addict – their physiological response to their choice, emotional, and psychological desire to stay clean, their desire to stay off the streets – however, staying clean is the wisest choice.
Kicking a bad habit is one of the hardest things a person, and their family, will ever do; it requires commitment and courage to succeed. These seven tips will help you stay on your journey to recovery. For more information on recovery resources, please visit designforrecovery.com.