Recovery Efforts and Your Choice to Overcome Addiction
Recovery efforts sometimes fail, and there can be several reasons. A significant one is that you just aren’t onboard. Sometimes people go through the motions, putting their bodies in the right place, but leaving their hearts and wills out of it. Lots of times this is something they are doing to satisfy someone else, loved ones, or even the court. Showing up for treatment or other recovery efforts can be just a way to get people off their backs. Open-mindedness focus and commitment to the process aren’t there.
When Treatment is Somebody Else’s Idea
We all know that denial can be a powerful force. It can cause us to miss some vital information. In the case of addiction, denial convinces us that substance use can’t possibly be causing all these life issues; it must be something else. Meanwhile, the addiction is off and running, with space and permission denial gives it.
It’s often the case that when we are in denial, others clearly see the issue and we don’t. They seem meddlesome, out of line, mistaken and problematic. When they bring their observations and concerns to us, we’re uncomfortable—why won’t they leave us alone? Why don’t they get a life? That other people are acting out of genuine concern and accurate assessments doesn’t cross our minds.
So, when someone gains the power to ‘put us in treatment’, we’re still usually in that denial. Typically, some legal problem has surfaced and is substance-related. Even the judge can see that, for example. Court-ordered addiction treatment can result, and we have a choice: go to treatment or go to jail. Some people say, ‘I had to serve time one way or the other, so I chose the easiest way to do it and went to rehab’. Of course, then rehab stays become a sentence, and one just marks off days, going through the motions until it’s over. No heart, open-mindedness or effort there—just the minimum to get by.
In other cases, it’s someone else’s idea with other mandates. It might be, for instance, go to treatment or I’m leaving you, or go to treatment or I’m filing for divorce… Depending upon the situation, of course, you might feel just as coerced as if a judge gave you his or her options. Many do go to rehab fearing loss of a marriage or significant relationship, and many arrive there eager to fix things that have gotten them to this point. However, many given ultimatums arrive in rehab to go through the motions, too.
It’s been said that there are no bad reasons to go to treatment, and there is some truth to that. No matter how you get there, you are at the very least exposed to things that can help you. And, sometimes seeds are planted in an experience like that. It might not ‘take’ the first time, but perhaps the next time addiction puts a power squeeze on your life, you will remember.
One of the unfortunate consequences of going to treatment when it is someone else’s idea is the high risk of feeling anger, resentment, and the need for revenge somehow. When someone else has pushed rehab or has made life uncomfortable around this issue, it is easy to feel controlled, even bullied or coerced. Very few people like that dynamic and many harbor ill feelings quite some time.
Recovery Efforts Reach Beyond Treatment
A treatment stay in rehab is by far the most effective and efficient way to tackle your addiction. It gives you time away from everyday life, and the triggers to use built into your life. It can also provide supervised and supported withdrawal and detox (be sure to check this feature wherever you inquire), and an immersive atmosphere of support for overcoming addiction. Few people can manage to arrange these services and types of support outside a rehab stay.
However, recovery is a long-term process—some say a lifelong one—and even after an in-depth rehab program, there will be other recovery needs. For example, re-entering your everyday life after rehab will have its own set of circumstances and challenges. You will arrive back home substance-free and this brings its own rewards and difficulties, too.
By the time an addiction has progressed to the point of needing treatment, substance use has become embedded in your life as a coping strategy and a catchall response to anything that arises in daily life. When feelings are bad, we use to improve or numb them. When there are things to celebrate, we turn to substances, too. And, at the most unmanageable point of an addiction, we turn to substances just to prevent withdrawal, to wake up in the morning, or to go to sleep at night. Consequently, freshly detoxed and newly out of rehab finds us facing many new experiences we may never have had, or haven’t had since becoming addicted.
Among the new experiences we face after rehab are managing a daily routine while sober, and dealing with others in our relationships, working through stress, finding ways to relax, and ways to manage the strong feelings we all feel from time to time. In this phase of early recovery, we rapidly realize that we need continuing support and a continuing recovery program after rehab to navigate a new stage of sobriety—being sober in the world, not just in rehab.
Recovery Efforts in Early Sobriety
Early sobriety is the first phase of life right after detox. It is usually considered to extend several months out, even a year, past becoming abstinent. Early sobriety is a particularly vulnerable time for relapse. And, a good deal of this happens because one has yet to master the events of life sober that are sure to come.
In a year’s cycle, we are apt to experience just about anything ordinary life has to offer. For example, we will cycle through a year of holidays, celebrations, and the anniversaries of loss such as the death of a loved one that can be especially difficult. We are also apt to cycle through a series of ups and downs in stress levels, relationship issues, and unexpected stressors we must cope with in a year’s time. Consequently, a prolonged view of early sobriety, covering a full year, can give us time to practice sober coping skills many times, and with practice, comes improved competence.
Getting through this vulnerable time can be greatly helped along by continuing counseling in individual and/or group sessions. This kind of professional support provides a touchstone for exploring issues as they arise so that healthy solutions can be found quickly. Counseling also provides a highly specific feedback system that can increase your awareness, reduce the chances of denial settling in, and prompt you to continue your efforts.
Peer support has also proven to be a valuable resource in early sobriety. Community self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous are invaluable. Groups come together for the sole purpose of helping each other remain in sobriety. They are very specialized formats for sharing addiction and recovery information and finding fellowship with others within this focused scope.
Additionally, participating in a stable support system of recovery-oriented, or recovery-supportive friends and family members is an important recovery effort. It brings enjoyment and a sense of belonging and security to you, helping you sustain recovery efforts, but helping also to sustain a good overall quality of life.
Meeting Medical Needs as Important Recovery Efforts
Many in recovery from an addiction have medical needs for addiction-related ailments, or for psychiatric symptoms. Addiction can be a significant compromiser of physical and mental health, taking its toll in a wide range of ways. Adequate management of any such issue can be good relapse prevention. Having such health needs under control can prevent attempts to self-medicate issues like chronic pain, depression, anxiety, or sleep problems, for example.
Meeting the Need for Purpose and Meaning in Recovery Efforts
As people, we have a strong need to belong to a group in which we feel accepted and in which we make a significant contribution. We also have a strong need to have meaning in our lives overall in the big picture of a life, but also in day to day events. We want to feel we have contributions to make to others and to the community or world at large—that we, our efforts and our lives mean something.
Recovery efforts should involve finding and maintaining such purposeful and meaningful activities. They can be through work, study, volunteerism, community activities, creative endeavors, faith-related work, or fulfilling family roles.
When You are Ready to be Done
When you are, as they say, sick and tired of being sick and tired, it’s time to reach out for professional help. You don’t have to suffer from an active addiction any longer. Treatment is available in a range of setting, with various treatment approaches, specialties, and even physical settings. Not only can your treatment needs be addressed, but any preferences you have for a treatment philosophy, location or even amenities can be accommodated.
If you are ready to begin your recovery process, we can help you find the appropriate treatment program for you. Give us a call today for a free consultation. We will clarify your needs and preferences and match them to programs that are a good fit for you. We will also clarify your insurance policy’s coverage for addiction treatment so our recommendations are a good match in that way, too.
Recovery is now a possibility more so than ever before. Let us help you find the right help so you can begin your recovery efforts now.