What Are The First Steps To Take Towards Sober Living?
Choosing sober living is a decision that will change your life forever. While recognizing the need to get sober is the starting point to achieve freedom from addiction, it is also just the beginning of the recovery battle.
For an addict, the prospect to attempt sober living can be an intimidating task. Especially if they don’t know how to go about it. Ignorance may either convince them that it will be an easy quick fix or prevent them from attempting. Either way, they will easily get lost if they aren’t aware of the challenges they will face and the available tools to counter them.
So, it is essential to be guided on the various factors associated with sober living so that the recovery journey out of addiction is less daunting and has higher chances of a positive result.
To begin the journey of sober living, the first step is to recognize and acknowledge that the individual has a drug abuse problem. Admitting this can be a challenge as most people are opposed to the notion that they don’t have control over their drug or alcohol usage.
So, what are the determining signs that indicate substance abuse is an issue in a person’s life?
- Uncontrollable craving for the substance at the cost of personal, social, and economic life.
- Withdrawal symptoms when the individual stops using.
- Inability to resist or even control the amount and frequency of usage.
- Substance abuse interferes with normal life and affects relationships, responsibilities, and others too.
These basic factors determine when a person needs to get sober and get them to admit they need to reach out for help.
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Sober living is not a path that one must walk alone. Rather, achieving and maintaining sobriety is more possible with a strong support system. A trusted network of supporters will give the person a higher chance of getting treated for addiction.
So once the need to get sober has been determined, next is reaching out. Seek the support of family and friends to get started on the journey to recovery from addiction. The strength and encouragement from a trusted supporter at this stage will determine the outcome of this battle.
A note of caution here is to be careful about whom you reach out to for help. A loved one may unknowingly enable substance abuse to continue. In their eagerness to help and lessen your struggle, often family and close friends may prolong the usage and make it harder for you to quit the addiction. Also, when a person gets addicted, their social circle will include those who encourage the habit, so seeking help also means avoiding certain people.
Seeking professional support is another direction to head if the person lacks family or friends to support their sober living. A trained professional can provide the information and guide you towards the available resources for recovery. They will find a treatment program that best suits the individual’s particular substance abuse, which in turn will increase the probability of getting and maintaining a sober living.
How To Choose The Right Treatment Program?
With drug addiction increasingly becoming a menace to modern society, there have been many studies and research done to treat this epidemic. An agreed conclusion is that there cannot be one common treatment for all people undergoing substance abuse. So, then it becomes important to secure a treatment based on the quality of the program, individual’s particular needs, level of addiction, and willingness to change.
A treatment program with a proven track record of positive results should be preferred. Addiction is a chronic brain disease and its treatment approach should be backed by research and scientific studies. This type of treatment will give the client the best chance at sober living and prevent relapse.
The degree or level of addiction is another factor to consider when choosing a treatment program. If the drug use is assessed to be mild, an outpatient treatment program with variable hours will do the person well. But for severe diagnosis of addiction abuse, a fully supervised residential program may be required. And then some addiction cases may need medical intervention and hospitalization.
By completing a comprehensive treatment program, a person is more likely to achieve a positive and lasting sober living in recovery.
The Withdrawal Challenge
One of the toughest hurdles to pass in the quest for sober living is dealing with withdrawal symptoms. But knowledge on what to expect and how to deal with it can make the process more bearable.
Detox is the process where the body starts eliminating the psychoactive substance. It is an extremely uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous process as the brain and body have become used to functioning with the presence of the drugs. Extreme confusion, hallucinations, fever, a rise in blood pressure, and seizures are some of the symptoms of withdrawal. Medical support at this stage is very crucial.
In time, once the drugs are expelled from the systems the body will readjust to functioning again, the person will feel better and experience being sober.
Therapy For Sober Living
Getting sober is the first step to be achieved. Next is to select, attend, and stay committed until completion of a treatment program to continue and maintain a sober living. There cannot be a generic program that would suit everyone’s particular needs. So, when a person first enters treatment, they will be professionally diagnosed and therapy assigned based on their need.
Many therapy options exist and here are some of the common ones
- Behavioral Therapy – To recognize the triggers for their cravings and how to respond to it without giving in.
- Motivational Therapy – Discovering methods to motivate the person to stay committed to sober living.
- Family Therapy – Often family issues may contribute to substance abuse. This form of therapy is for individuals to deal with codependency and enabling family behaviors.
- Interpersonal Therapy – For individuals to learn how to build friendships, maintain healthy relationships, and support one another.
Additionally, strong network support that fosters self-confidence can motivate the person to stick to the treatment program and achieve freedom from drug abuse.
The ultimate goal of every treatment program is to prevent relapse and maintain a sober living for the long term. The challenge lies when the individual re-enters daily life and into an environment with high potential for relapse.
If an individual is categorized with high-risk relapse post-treatment, it is advisable to step into a residential program such as halfway homes. This is will give time and assistance in transitioning the person into a normal life. Here, they will pick up the required skills to navigate living a daily life while maintaining sobriety.
Halfway homes or sober living homes as it is sometimes called are defined as housing facilities that provide safe support and structured living for recovering drug addicts. They serve as the transition point between a rehabilitation program and a normal society. Halfway homes and alumni programs provide a lifetime of support to avoid relapse and help sustain sobriety.
It has been proved that when a drug addict transitions from a formal drug treatment plan and goes into a halfway house, it gives the best results for long term sobriety.
Ultimately following all these steps and guidelines will bear fruit if the individual stays dedicated, focused, and is willing to put in the effort. A consistent and sustained effort of self-improvement will lead to a productive and fulfilling life free from drug addiction.
With strong support from family and loved ones, you can stay sober by personally applying the following tips:
- Avoid risky situations – Stay away from people with whom you do drugs or avoid places that feed your addiction.
- Build a network – Identify family and friends who will support you and lean on to them for encouragement. Stay in constant touch with your sponsor even after treatment.
- Peer support group – Join a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous and attend the meetings regularly.
- Manage your cravings – Fighting off the urges can be tough, but you can fight it by staying busy to distract yourself. Keeping a journal or trying a substitute such as chewing gum can also help.
- Discover new activities – By finding an exercise routine, volunteering for a good cause, etc., you will meet new friends with like interests. This will help you to avoid your previous routine of falling into drug usage.
- Manage Stress – A healthy body and mind are required to stay positive during recovery. So have a balanced diet with an adequate amount of sleep and physical exercise. Also, be careful to manage physical pain by opting for non-medical treatments such as acupuncture or massage. As pain management medicines might increase your chances of relapse.
Sober living can make life more fulfilling and fun. And while it is not easy to battle drug addiction, this decision will impact your life and bring rewarding experiences. So, go ahead and make the first moves to commit to a sober life.