Addiction is an incredibly tricky thing. It is, at the core, your responsibility. It happened because you allowed it, but at the same time addiction works as a force of its own. You are responsible for it, and yet at the same time are a victim of it. This duality makes it hard for many to understand. For some, they just cannot understand why you can’t just stop. They don’t understand fully how addiction physically changes the brain, or how addictions often start out with a quest to soothe some other ailment in your life.
You should never feel alone. There are systems of support available for you to help you get sober and, most importantly, stay sobriety.
Detox, with guidance
The first step, if you haven’t already taken it, is to detox from the substance you are addicted to so that it is entirely absent from your body. Detoxes can be extremely painful and even dangerous, which is why it is not recommended to do it alone. A professional inpatient program or even hospitalization is the better option. Intensive inpatient care, with the help of medical professionals, can help you get sober properly and safely.Alcohol and drugs remain in the body for many days after you take them. While they are processed and decrease fairly quickly, traces can still be found in your body, eventually only in your hair and nails for a few months.
It is for this reason that inpatient programs typically last 28 days. During this time you will be unable to access your addictive substance, and, more importantly, you’ll have nurses and expert staff on hand to help you through withdrawal and even start your therapy sessions.
Seek ongoing support
Even if you have already finished with intensive inpatient treatment, you have only just taken the first step towards ongoing sobriety. You don’t need to fight your addiction on your own. Statistically speaking, doing so will likely lead to relapse. You need the support of others and professional guidance if you are to successfully stay sober. Hardships, triggers, and temptation get to be too much for all of us without a strong support network. This applies to everything, even conditions that don’t foster a chemical dependency.
The type of support you need will depend entirely on where you are in your recovery. At the very least, drug rehab outpatient sessions are a must. They are a mixture of one-on-one and group therapy sessions that help you address your addiction and build the life skills and support system necessary to stay strong in the face of temptation.
There are a variety of these outpatient services as well. If your home situation is not healthy and is a serious trigger, then you can opt for Level 1 or Level 2 housing programs. In these programs, you stay in subsidized housing while continuing to receive therapy sessions from therapists and group counselors.
Reconnecting with friends and family
While you are undergoing outpatient treatment you will be encouraged to reconnect with friends and family. Mending those broken bridges is one of the most important steps that you can take in your recovery, and it is not easy. You cannot use your addiction as an excuse. You need to genuinely apologize and show them you are making serious changes to your lifestyle. Even then, it is up to them to reconnect with you, so give them the space they need and work hard for your sobriety to show them that this time is different.
Encourage them to take a family program
It can be hard to forgive when you don’t understand. It can be hard to help when you don’t know what to do. Both of these challenges are tackled in therapist-led family sessions that work to help family members understand addiction, accept it, and learn how they can help you stay sober at home. As you can imagine, not just any family member will qualify. Try to ask loving family members who want to see you get better. If they were originally a trigger for your substance abuse, it can be a very long road before your relationship evens out enough for them to be a positive influence in your life.
You need people who love you and who want to support your recovery. If a parent is also dealing with their own substance abuse, only they have no interest in getting sober themselves, then they won’t be a good candidate.
Your family may understand, but you still need to take steps towards fostering forgiveness. Being extremely committed to your sobriety is a great first step, but building trust takes time. Follow your loved ones’ lead and take what they give you. It is up to them whether or not to forgive you for what you did while in the grip of addiction, and you cannot force them otherwise. What you can do instead is focus on what you can do, and rely on the support system you are building up for yourself through your treatment program and through the family members willing to help you stay sober.
Rebuilding your career
Rebuilding familiar connections should always take precedence because you are going to need their support and love to stay sober through the difficulties you’ll face in the future. Perhaps the biggest one is rebuilding your career if your addiction has caused you to lose it in the first place.
Losing your job because of an addiction can make it very hard to get back up on the career ladder, which is why you’ll need to be prepared to start as low down as you need to. Failing that, try volunteering to show your commitment and hard work ethic. Building up a portfolio of good references as you work on staying sober, especially in the beginning, can help you reclaim your old job position or find another meaningful job somewhere else.
It doesn’t hurt to try to reconnect with your former co-workers. If you were good at your job until disaster struck and you developed an addiction to cope with it, they may be willing to give you another chance once you can demonstrate your sobriety.
Sobriety is a journey, and there is no fixed end-point. Building up the right support system will help you surmount the difficult parts of the path, and using the skills and tools you’ll learn in your treatment center will help you stay your course.