Drug Rehab Is a Starting Point.
Today, most people consider addiction a disease. While many have attempted to analyze and explain addiction, we like the explanation found in 12 Step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous best. The 12 Steps frame addiction in a practical way– as a combination of physical, spiritual, and mental issues that cause an individual to drink or use drugs uncontrollably. Then they outline a plan of action to get sober and back under control. The 12 Steps are a testament to the deep understanding of addiction that their creators had. This is why we always recommend 12 Step-based treatment programs to those trying to get sober.
Drug addiction is a plague in modern-day America. When drug addiction takes over a life, it does not just hurt one person. It hurts everyone around them. Friends, family, coworkers, and especially the person who is addicted will all suffer consequences until the disease is treated.
Substance Abuse and Counseling
Counseling and therapy are well-developed and effective treatments for many of the mental and emotional problems people suffer from today– including addiction. Often, issues that appear unsolvable or to require medication can be resolved by working with a good counselor.
Counseling can be especially helpful for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. When it comes to addiction, mental health and behavioral counseling are often a key part of the recovery process.
As a recovering addict, I attend counseling regularly. It provides me with a setting in which I can talk openly about anything that’s bothering me. It helps me to identify areas in life where I fall short and what I can do to improve. It also adds a layer of accountability—I voluntarily set up a weekly urinalysis drug test with my counselor so the people around me can feel comfortable knowing I am sticking to my program of recovery.
–A Real Deal staff member
There are a number of types of counseling that can be helpful for treating substance abuse and addiction.
Types of Counseling
Most people are familiar with this type of counseling. The client meets with a therapist on a regular basis, such as once a week, to work on behavioral health. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a common practice where patients learn to identify and avoid or deal with situations that put them at risk of substance use. Individual counseling is a core component of successful recovery programs for many people today.
A key part of the recovery process is being a member of a community with the same issues and goals. This is where group therapy comes in. Patients can feel comfortable discussing their substance abuse issues, with the knowledge that others in the group understand what they are going through from experience. Achieving sobriety and then staying sober becomes much easier when you don’t have to do it all by yourself.
If you or a loved one have struggled with addiction before, you will know that it affects not just the addict or alcoholic, but the people surrounding them as well. Families and relationships can be stressed to the breaking point by an untreated addiction. Family counseling allows the person in recovery to sit down with his or her loved ones in a comfortable setting and begin to repair the damage that has been done and find peace.
Finding Recovery Groups
Navigating the world of recovery groups and fellowships can be difficult and confusing. There are many diverse options, and everyone seems to have a different opinion. Some say that all alcoholics need to go to AA. Some say that someone who used drugs can’t go there, but needs to go to NA instead. Some people think all you need is God in your life, and will tell you to go to church. Still others don’t believe in God at all and will tell you SMART Recovery is the best group. This page aims to clear up some of the confusion and point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a group.
The 12 Steps
The 12 Steps were originally pioneered by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s. Today they are the most famous program of recovery from alcohol as well as all other forms of addiction and many types of behavioral problems. The reason they have lasted so long is because they have worked for millions of people, and there is no reason that they can’t work for you as well.
Many people are scared off by what they see as the religious or spiritual aspect of 12 Step programs. Even if they are atheist or agnostic, they don’t need to worry. 12 Step programs do not force you to follow a certain God or religion.
There are a wide variety of 12 Step groups, attended by an even wider variety of people. The best-known group, of course, is AA, and this is often the best choice for alcoholics. But more than just alcoholics find sobriety through AA. Many modern AA groups include alcoholics as well as those who mainly used drugs. All members suffer from the same disease, and can find recovery in the same place.
Those who are not comfortable with AA have a number of other options. The most common drug recovery group is NA, but there are also groups for many other substances. In addition to substance abuse, 12 Step groups are available for behavioral problems and process addictions like sex, gambling, and overeating. And these are just a few of the groups that can be found in many cities.
Today it is easier than ever to find the right 12 Step group for you.
Other Recovery Groups
For one reason or another, some people just cannot stomach the 12 Steps. There are still options available for these people. SMART Recovery uses a research-based, cognitive-behavioral approach to recovery. Celebrate Recovery offers a Christian perspective on finding sobriety. These and several other options are available as 12 Step alternatives.
Relapse is one of the most talked-about and least understood problems in the recovery community. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on relapse. Some people will tell you it is a natural part of the recovery process. Others will tell you it never needs to happen—that it means someone was not following their program of recovery closely enough. Whichever point of view you take, the bottom line is many addicts and alcoholics relapse, and it is important to know what to do next. This page will attempt to answer that question.
Back to Drug Rehab?
If it is feasible to send the relapsed addict or alcoholic back to inpatient treatment, this can be the best option. It can feel humiliating to go back to rehab after graduating successfully, but shame needs to take the backseat to necessity. Addicts and alcoholics die of their addiction every day, so getting sober really can be a matter of life and death.
Inpatient treatment centers are an effective and highly recommended way of dealing with a relapse. And there is no need to hesitate to go to treatment, even if you have been before. Many people attend several treatment centers before they finally find long-term recovery.
Don't Give up on Treatment. Rehab Is Just a Start.
If you or someone you love relapses into drug or alcohol addiction, the key is to continue trying to get sober. Most addicts and alcoholics with strong, long-term sobriety have had at least one relapse. Some have had many more than one. It is easy to think the battle with addiction has been lost, but this could not be further from the truth.
The modern understanding of addiction is that it is a disease. When a cancer patient relapses, the doctor doesn’t just give up. They fight even harder to beat it. And with the right attitude, many times they win. This is just as true when it comes to addiction.