Ask anyone in recovery, and they will tell you that recovery and sobriety is the opposite of a linear journey. For that reason, it can be difficult to know when to seek treatment or whether or not you are on the right track in your recovery. While your sobriety journey will be unique to you, the road to recovery is often marked by a few common benchmarks. Read on to identify the six key steps between alcohol addiction and sobriety, from the first time you admit you are struggling to ultimate freedom from addiction.
The steps toward recovery
1. Reaching out for help
It might sound like a cliché, but the first step in your recovery journey is admitting you have a problem. Your friends and family may have expressed concern over your alcohol use in the past, but you can truly only begin to get help when you feel ready for it.
If you’ve arrived at this first step, you have recognized that you are addicted to alcohol and need the help from something much larger than yourself. Willingly entering an alcohol addiction rehab center or a similar treatment program is also an indicator that you are committed to cultivating sustainable, long-lasting sobriety; the same cannot be said for individuals who were checked in to a treatment center against their wishes, as they may not believe they have a problem.
Once you recognize that you need professional help, you can continue taking steps down the road to recovery.
Detoxing and withdrawing from alcohol are uncomfortable but imperative steps in the recovery process. To start your sobriety off on the right foot, your body needs to rid itself of the toxins that have altered your brain chemistry and central nervous system.
Alcohol withdrawals can be painful, long-lasting, and sometimes dangerous or fatal. For this reason, it is important to detox in an alcohol addiction rehab center or otherwise under the care of medical professionals, who can help keep you safe and may be able to alleviate some of the more painful symptoms.
You may feel discouraged during the detox process, and you may want to give up. Just remember why you sought sobriety in the first place, and let that carry you through the tough days.
3. Inpatient treatment
Following detox from alcohol, you will then move into inpatient, or residential, treatment. Inpatient treatment after detox is critical because this is one of the times you are most vulnerable during your recovery. At an alcohol addiction rehab center, you will have around-the-clock, continuous support, and you will also have the opportunity to engage with fellow residents.
Residential treatment will also help you with the transition back to your daily life. You will participate in individual and group therapy to identify your triggers so that you are prepared if you come across them, learn coping tools and skills and provide and receive support and encouragement.
4. Outpatient treatment
By the time you begin outpatient alcohol addiction treatment, your sobriety will be put to the test in the real world. You might be living with friends or family or even on your own, and you may be looking to work or go to school full-time. These changes can be overwhelming for someone still working through their recovery, so it is important to continue with treatment during this period of transition.
Outpatient programs are often intensive, but that is not to say you can’t live a normal life during your participation. Many programs have flexible scheduling such that you can attend counseling and other treatment programs around your work or school hours. You will continue with individual and group counseling sessions, and discussions will focus on your progress, setbacks and goals in recovery since going back to your daily life.
5. Continuing services
Over time, your intensive outpatient treatment will slowly decrease in intensity. Rather than attending treatment for eight hours in one day, you might only go for three hours after a few months. Frequency of your sessions will decrease as well, and eventually you will transition entirely from a traditional alcohol addiction treatment program to other types of services more focused on peer support, like a 12-step program.
In terms of therapy, you will likely continue your individual therapy sessions, and if medication is part of your alcohol addiction treatment, you will regularly have medication management sessions with the prescribing mental health professional. You may not feel the need or desire to continue with intensive group therapy, but if you found that it was beneficial to your recovery, do feel free to attend.
For the most part, the hard part is over. You accepted that you were challenged by alcohol addiction. You went through the uncomfortable withdrawal phase. You attended hours of therapy, education lessons, 12-step programs and more. You may have gotten a new job and are now able to support yourself or your family. You are now in control of your addiction and your sobriety.
Sobriety is a lifelong effort, so don’t forget to tend to it every day. You should be proud of how far you’ve come and what you are yet to accomplish.
Find your freedom with Freedom Detox
Freedom Detox specializes in helping adolescents and adults who are struggling with addiction to find peace and hope. Get help today by reaching out at 800-475-2312.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a doctor-patient relationship.