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Steps of Rehabilitation

Recovery is a Process and Not an Event

It is important that people who are trying to break away from addiction understand that recovery is a process and not an event. What this means is that simply giving up alcohol or drugs is not going to be enough by itself to ensure that the person recovers. The reasons for why it is better to consider recovery as a process would be:

  • Most substance abusers will have had periods when they did not drink or use drugs, but it didn’t necessarily mean that their life got much better.
  • The reasons for why the individual fell into addiction in the first place will still be there when they stop.
  • The individual will have been using alcohol or drugs to help them cope with life. When the alcohol or drugs are removed, they will usually have nothing with which to replace it. This means that they can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with life.

In order to really recover from addiction, the individual will not only need to stop drinking and using drugs but also become ready to deal with life in a more effective way.

The Steps of Rehabilitation

It is possible to break down recovery into different stages, but it is important not to take these too literally. There are also different ways to describe these steps, and this does not mean that one description is better than another. Here is one way to break down the phases of rehabilitation:

  • Pre-recovery stage – the individual develops the motivation to quit.
  • Detox stage – the individual takes action to quit addiction. During the detox stage, which usually lasts 10 days to 2 weeks depending on the drug, the individual will be mostly focused on their withdrawal symptoms. It is common for people to have a supervised detox in rehab to ensure their safety.
  • Primary rehab stage – this is the traditional rehab programme that usually lasts for about 90 days. The individual will learn the basic skills they need in order to begin building a good life away from alcohol or drugs.
  • Early recovery or third stage rehab – this is where the individual begins to learn how to function as a sober person in their community. Some people will go to a third stage rehab for this period. Early recovery lasts for about the first two years of sobriety.
  • Advanced recovery – this is reached after a couple of years of living sober. The individual is not cured, but they will be used to staying sober, and it will no longer be such a big deal for them. It is important for the person to never become complacent in advanced recovery because it only takes one drink or one drug to put them right back in the hell of addiction.

Is Addiction Treatment Needed?

There are people who have managed to break away from addiction without much help. It needs to be kept in mind though, that giving up alcohol or drugs is just the beginning. The aim of addiction treatment is really to help the individual build a satisfying and enjoyable life. There are some good reasons for why it is best to choose some type of addiction programme including:

  • If people are serious about achieving anything in life, they are going to want to give themselves the very best possible chance. By taking advantage of the available addiction treatment resources, the individual is empowering him or herself and acting sensibly.
  • The reality is that the majority of substance abusers do not seem to be able to break away from addiction without some type of help. The individual may be able to stop for a few weeks or months, but they keep on slipping back to addiction. There is the old saying that if you keep on doing the same things, you will keep on getting the same results. By taking advantage of addiction recovery resources, the individual will be trying something different.
  • These resources are just there to help the person become sober, but to help them create a life worth staying sober for. This is important because the individual is unlikely to commit to sobriety long term unless they have good reasons to remain sober.
  • The most common reason for why people will relapse in early recovery is that they feel unable to cope with life. This is because they will have been using alcohol or drugs for this purpose and now they no longer have this option. It is therefore vital that the individual begins developing some new coping mechanisms, and this is what rehab and other addiction treatment options are all about.
  • The real benefit of these options is that they provide the individual with a programme for living.
  • By entering a treatment centre, the individual will benefit from a therapeutic and nurturing environment. This will magnify their own determination and motivation thus increasing their likelihood of being successful. The person will also be surrounded by people who can offer support and encouragement.
  • It is common for people to struggle with withdrawal symptoms, and this is why the individual may never get beyond the detox stage. Addiction treatment can greatly increase the chances of the person making it to long term recovery. There are treatments (for example – pharmaceuticals) that can lessen the symptoms of withdrawal.

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