For those who are reading this article and are feeling that you are starting to drown in your substance abuse, you may have started to notice that things are not right with the world in between those periods of living the high life. You may be feeling that things are truly turning south when you look in the mirror and notice that you may not recognize the reflection that is staring back at you. You may be noticing that your family and friends are greeting you with sidewards glances and awkward pauses.
You feel that you may be standing at some sort of crossroads, and you may be ready to get clean and sober once and for all. While the resolve and commitment to get clean is there, you may be completely lost in regards to how you are going to attack this cunning beast called addiction. You may be asking yourself how do I get sober?
How In the Hell Am I Going to Get Sober?
Let’s say you have made the decision to change the path to ruin that you are on and want to embrace sobriety. You–in the immortal words of the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade–have chosen wisely. Making that commitment to yourself to break the vicious cycle of addiction can set into motion events that can transform your life. However, saying that you are going to do something and actually doing it are different states of being.
You may have that the mind is ready, but the heart and legs are not quite ready to take that first tentative step forward. If you are like many people who are looking to recover from substance abuse, the fear of the unknown in addiction and recovery can keep them stuck and they continue to further slide down the spiral towards a grim future. The conflicting emotions that accompany the initial decision to get sober can and often will overpower you and leave you drained and still asking the question of how do I get sober?
As you will find out, the key to getting sober is creating a blueprint that will give you the best chances of success. As you start your recovery journey, you will notice that the process of getting clean starts before making the phone call to a drug treatment facility.
The Process of Getting Clean and Sober
First things first….
You must realize that achieving meaningful sobriety is a process and not a life event that can be framed in a specific time period. Beating back substance abuse is a complex undertaking that requires you to dig deep to the underlying roots of your addiction and having the courage to address and overcome these issues. While you may be gung-ho to get things started and to dive right in with arms and feet kicking and your ears pinned back, you have to look before you leap.
Addiction is a complex and progressive disease, and it requires a solid mindset and game plan. The following are steps that you need to take in order to truly get sober:
To start answering the question of how do I get sober, it first requires considerable time for candid and honest personal reflection and exploration. In recovery terms, this can be called the precovery stage and it is a stage in which you now longer put drugs and alcohol on a pedestal. You are starting to notice that you are tiring of living the lie of addiction and you desire more out of life. This precovery stage involves intense reflection in which you need to ask yourself the hard questions. The following are some of the important questions that you need to ask yourself:
- Am I a truly happy person using drugs and alcohol?
- How have drugs impacted my life in negative ways?
- What have I lost as a result of my addiction?
- What will happen to me if I continue to use substances?
- Can I ever be the person I want to be and continue to use drugs and alcohol?
Questions such as these are often very difficult to answer and can bring forth a great deal of emotional pain. However, it is important that you answer honestly and openly because it will provide the right incentive and motivation to start getting sober for good.
During your time of personal reflection and brutal honesty, you have more than likely come to the realization that your addiction to drugs and/or alcohol has taken over your life and there is no way you can rationalize the consequences of your substance abuse. Instead of pointing the finger at others you are pointing the finger at yourself. The willingness to stop abusing substances can come from many sources, but the most common are the following:
- Significant and lingering depression as the result of feeling detached from everything in your life.
- Growing isolation from family, friends and other loved ones.
- Loss of employment or property
- Loss of identity, self-worth, esteem and confidence
- Legal consequences
During this willingness stage, you should be able to definite goals for yourself in mind and write them down. These goals should be specific to your personal and professional life as well as what realistic financial goals that you desire for your future.
When you are ready to make the leap to drug treatment, your first step is undergo medical detoxification. Addicts who quit using drugs and alcohol often experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely uncomfortable and painful to endure. Depending on the type of drug abused, the quantity and frequency of use and any underlying medical complications, these withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening.
With medical detox, you would be able to gradually withdraw from substances in an environment which is safe, secure and supervised around the clock by experienced medical personnel. In order to make withdrawal more tolerable, detox staff may use medications, nutrition therapy and other interventions. Additionally, detox staff will also perform a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose any underlying co-occurring mental illnesses that maybe accompany your substance abuse.
Oftentimes substance abuse is seen as a symptom for a deeper mental health issue. If these underlying issues are not dealt with during drug treatment, the chances you have of achieving lasting recovery will be very slim. In the event that a co-occurring disorder such as depression or anxiety is discovered, treatment staff can include mental health interventions in your individual plan of treatment.
Intensive Drug Treatment
Once you are stable and substance free, you will transition into a highly intensive and structured drug treatment program. Utilizing a combination of individual and group therapy, holistic treatment approaches, life and coping skills training, 12-Step group involvement and relapse prevention education, you will receive the tools and support you need to overcome your addiction to substances.
Because you are unique and different in regards to their addiction and how you respond to treatment, there are a variety of treatment options available that can fit your specific needs. The most common option is attending an inpatient residential treatment facility where you would live onsite on facility grounds and away from the triggers and temptations of your home environment. If you are unable to make the commitment to stay in a residential treatment setting, you can choose an intensive outpatient treatment program in which you can receive the same quality inpatient services but can still live at home and meet your family and work obligations.
You can also explore other treatment options such luxury drug treatment, faith-based drug treatment, and holistic treatment centers. You can also explore those drug treatment facilities the specialize in treating certain drugs such as alcohol, cocaine or heroin. While the road to recovery can be filled with formidable obstacles, keeping this plan in mind will keep you motivated and moving forward towards your goal.