Recognizing the Problem
Before an addict can get help for a drug problem, there must be the belief and admission that there is indeed a problem. An addict who is going into treatment simply because someone else wants him to is unlikely to find much lasting sobriety or success. In order to get well, addicts must understand that they are addicts and that there is no healthy or acceptable way to coexist with drugs. The addict must be able to admit not only that there is a chemical abuse issue, but that he or she is truly powerless to stop it as well.
Next Step: Rehab
Many addicts find it hard to effectively sever their tie with the drug of choice without a rigorous program of recovery, usually commencing with a stint in a rehab facility. This is valuable time for the addict not only to detox, but to begin seeing what it means to live without drugs, to receive counsel and support, to begin developing friendships with other recovering addicts, and to put a plan in place for returning to the outside world and maintaining sobriety.
Can an addict get clean without rehab? The answer is yes: many drug addicts can and do effectively quit using drugs without a rehab program. Each individual, perhaps with the help of a doctor, therapist, and/or family, needs to decide the best course of action for achieving the desired result of lasting sobriety.
If you are an addict reading this you may wonder how to tell friends and family you are going to rehab. What is the best way to break the news about an addiction? The reality is that your addiction, no matter how well you think you’ve been keeping it, is very likely no surprise to the people around you. They have, no doubt, observed your questionable and disturbing behavior, and even if they didn’t say anything about it, they probably wanted to.
There is no perfect way to have this difficult conversation, but the journey of recovery involves a path of total honesty. The best approach is open, authentic face-to-face conversation and a humble request for their support and encouragement at this difficult time.
After Rehab: Ongoing Recovery
Your last day in rehab is not the end of the journey but merely the beginning. A life of sobriety, and the challenges and blessings that accompany it, begin when you step out into the world and begin to figure out what it means to live life without the aid of a chemical fix. It is hard, it is new, but it is possible.
A successful recovery plan will include frequent attendance at meetings, working with a sponsor, diligent work on the Twelve Steps, continued self-reflection and honesty, an attempt to develop a relationship with the God of your understanding and involvement with your recovery community.
And even if you do all that is suggested, it doesn’t mean you will never again crave drugs or find yourself tempted to escape the challenges of life via the familiar chemical high. But coping with cravings in recovery becomes exponentially more manageable when a strong support network has formed and when the addict has begun to witness some of the blessings of life in recovery. Cravings and a desire to return to the old ways may come, but a solid foundation in recovery, as well as a willingness to be honest, humble and to reach out for help, are the insurance an addict has against any temptation to relapse.