Statistics show that about 20 million people are presently recovering from drug and alcohol addictions in the United States.
They face complicated issues every day, which can push them into a relapse. A lot of them, regrettably, will. The magnitude of the problem becomes more significant if you add to these numbers the estimated 22 million people who need treatment for addiction. How can such an issue be dealt with? Establishing a support system that is strong and reliable is important according to many professionals.
Many people have the belief that recovery from addiction is just a matter of abstinence.
Getting the addict to stop drinking, using substances or engaging in addictive behaviour, so a detox, and they can only consider themselves as being in recovery.
We wouldn't be facing issues we have nowadays if it was only that simple.
The field of research into recovery is only now starting to grow. Rehab experts and researchers now think that there are various paths to follow and that there are many sides to recovery. There is not one solution that is effective for all.
For example, the 12-step groups like alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous and gamblers anonymous are the most common, but there are a number of ways to recover. Some people can be in recovery and be in a maintenance program for their dependence. They might be on a maintenance plan, like buprenorphine or methadone, but also be clean and have a great personal health. Earlier, it was believed that an individual could not be on a maintenance program and considered to be in recovery, so this is a recent recognition.
An individual achieves the sobriety, as well as improved health, wellness and quality of life with the help of recovery that is a process of change. The emphasis of recovery nowadays is on staying clean and healthy in the long-term. It includes a continuous process of evolution, redefining yourself, self-discovery and self-change. Being this way, recovery is moving from a crisis-centered, professionally-managed, acute-care attitude with stressing isolated rehab episodes, to more of a recovery directed approach that offers long-term encouragement and seeks various paths to wellbeing and health.
It is unrealistic and myopic to expect that an individual will continue to live a sober and healthy life on account of a detoxification process alone.
There are many problems that could have led to the substance abuse, and clearing the toxic substances through detox does not address these.
This is the reason why the whole person approach to healing presently is recognised widely as it is one of the most effective methods of helping addicts to reach recovery.
Researchers have come to the conclusion that there are many different ways of getting to recovery.
For many people, it is as simple as making the statement "I have got my life back." Every individual within the recovery has his or her personal interpretation of what recovery means. For many individuals in recovery, it is vital to have a sense of being reborn, getting an opportunity and a second chance, and is often cited almost verbatim as such. Others talk about self-improvement, living life without drugs, giving your life meaning, fulfilling your goals, having positive thoughts, improved living standards or finances, enhanced mental and physical health, better family relations, and having a support network and friends.
The emerging pattern of recovery incorporates the importance of having systems in place.
Coordinated support methods are required using a chronic care prototype of prolonged recovery directing. Recovery oriented education, peer-based recovery coaching, support and monitoring after treatment and re-intervening if needed are some of the things that are emphasized in this new model. Peer networks, constant support, and additional services as a piece of the complete addiction treatment scheme is what this emerging model entails. The aim of these Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care or ROSCs is the recovery from addiction and treatment of disorders in the long-term. There are many treatment options to choose from under the ROSCs and there are also various support choices available for the recovery process. Services are provided in flexible and unbundled packages that develop over time to match the ongoing and changing requirements of the individual in recovery.
ROSCs provide the individual who is going through recovery with a number of options which are then properly coordinated in order to provide the continued support needed by the individual in their unique path to sustained recovery. ROSCs main aim is to help the individual abstain, improve in health, wellbeing and quality of life and this is why they include both informal and formal community-centred systems of support such as families and the strength of the individual.
When the stress factors that act as triggers and threaten to lead to relapse arise, individuals should have access to creative avenues. These include developing a circle of non-drinking, non-using friends, having friends to call that can offer support and encouragement, and possibly having the right kinds of places to live.
People in recovery, generally speaking, have to develop new relationships. Those in recovery need to build friendships with sober friends who are able to help them reduce or avoid the temptations of relapsing and reverting to old habits. They are often in need of changing their location, getting away from the environment where they used to use, or lived with other individuals who continue to use. They need to commit to meditation, introspection or prayer as a means of realising their spiritual development.
One month programs are not enough to offer any hope that people who have been addicts for two decades or even longer are going to go through such programs and thereafter not fall back into the addiction. They are in need of a transitional phase, a place where they have continued support, education, counseling and other services to help them get to a point where they can join back the society and have a hopeful chance at recovery. For some of these people the solution would be to live in a halfway house or in a sober-living facility.
Numerous individuals will need to educate themselves about preparing a resume and how they should present themselves during an interview or how to complete a job application. The halfway house or sober living home will help in promoting long-term stabilisation.
Recovering addicts each have different needs. They all require a solid support system when they begin building on their strengths during recovery. Reconnecting with their friends and families, getting a job or finding a place to live may all be necessary.
Addicts are most familiar with is peer pressure. Peer pressure might have been a big factor in their substance abuse when they were addicted. Recovery experts to sustain recovery recognise the benefit of peer pressure also during the recovery. In order to maintain continued recovery, peer pressure is necessary and this is incorporated in different things such as the 12-step groups.
Avail yourself of counseling (individual or group) and other behavioral therapies if you are in recovery. These factors are always present in many treatment programs that are largely successful.
A number of people within the recovery will find medications are also an important part of the overall treatment program. It is important for anyone in recovery to take the medication as prescribed by the doctor for issues such as reducing cravings or eliminating them altogether, alleviating or helping with anxiety and depression among others. You should keep taking the medication (anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications) as prescribed even if at first you don't notice any change since some of the medications take time before results are seen.
Joining, attending and participating in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step groups is also important. These 12-step programs are not connected with any religion, sect, politics, denomination, organization or institution. A lot of them have special groups for women. Participating in these groups has been seen to make the treatment much more effective. That means that even if you have completed your treatment you shouldn't give up attending 12-step group meetings. In fact, your ability to draw upon the support of others who understand your situation may be the necessity for your sustained recovery.
Pointers that will help to prevent relapses are often useful when they are presented in a condensed version.
It's not a complete disaster for you to slip. Don't be hard on yourself or see yourself as lacking the necessary willpower. Relapses happen. What do you do? You should be getting back on the path to recovery. So you are more likely to stay on the path to recovery, get yourself to an environment where you'll get the support you need.
It is also extremely important that you have a discussion with others who may have been through a relapse and come back from it. They know you're going through and can offer support, encouragement, recommendations and a non-judgemental ear - something you're exactly need during this painful time. They can help provide you with coping tools - things that worked for them and have worked for numerous other - so that you'll be able to stop relapse from happening again. Lastly, they will also show you how you can keep yourself from relapsing in the future and help you to understand that relapses happen and they can be prevented.