Helping Loved Ones with Addiction

The First Steps to Addiction Recovery

The road to a sober, healthy life is not an easy or quick one. Addiction recovery is a lifelong commitment of hard work and dedication. This journey to sobriety begins with simple forward steps. These steps vary from person to person according to the treatment plan used, the individual, and the type of addiction. However, everyone’s recovery process is similar.

Step 1: Choosing a Facility

Finding an addiction rehabilitation program right for you is not easy. The things you should consider when choosing an addiction treatment program are:

  • No single treatment works for all people. Different people need different treatment programs.
  • You must commit to treatment and give time for recovery.
  • Addiction alters the way your brain works.
  • You need access to treatment whenever necessary.
  • Effective therapy addresses all areas of your life, not just the addiction.
  • Medical treatment may be required, and it always should be given along with therapy.
  • Your treatment plan should be adjusted to meet your unique needs, situations, and circumstances.
  • Mental health disorders are often connected to addiction, so they must be addressed during treatment.
  • You need monitoring close by licensed staff when receiving medications.
  • Treatment should include education concerning the health risks of substance use/abuse, medical testing for infectious diseases, and counseling.

Step 2: Detox

Detoxification (detox) is a process that safely rids the body of substances. Most addictions require a detox process before the addict begins the program. This process removes all traces of drugs from the body. Maintenance medications are often used to counteract withdrawal systems, which are associated with opiates, narcotics, and illegal substances. The severity of the detoxification process will vary from person to person, depending on how long the person had taken the drug, how much has been consumed, and if there are multiple addictions. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Runny nose
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Inability to sleep
  • Sweeting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble breathing
  • Muscle pains
  • Seizures

Step 3: Rehab

Rehabilitation (rehab) is the main component of the addiction treatment process. After detox, the patient must get to the main reasons for the addiction, address important issues, and accept responsibility so he/she can effectively move on to a drug-free life. Through individual behavioral therapy, the patient identifies when he/she began using a substance, and understand why this happened.

Additionally, the addict will learn strategies to effectively manage time and focus on getting involved with social, work, and recreational activities. The patient also identifies individual triggers and situations that could lead to substance use.

The addiction rehab process also includes therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy address the patient’s thought processes, and how to reform thinking patterns to make better decisions. Group therapy involves sessions that allow the patient to interact with other addicts who suffer from similar addictions. This helps the addict to understand he/she is not alone and that others also have these problems.

Step 4: Recovery

After completing rehab, the addict is not finished with recovery. Rather, recovery is a lifelong process. The addict must work daily for the remainder of his/her life on recovery.

During this phase of addiction treatment, the addict continues with aftercare, which involves sober living facilities, group meetings, individual counseling, family counseling, and/or medication therapy. Aftercare support groups, such as AA and NA, allow the addict to establish a relationship with a mentor and socialize with other people.