In the United States, approximately 20 million people are in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
They face multiple problems every day, any one of which can drive them headlong into relapse. A lot of them, regrettably, will. The size of this issue becomes even bigger when you add these figures to around 22 million people that require rehab for their dependency. How to deal with the issue? Creating and maintaining a strong support system is vital according to recovery professionals.
Many people have the belief that recovery from addiction is just a matter of abstinence.
If you get the addict to abstain or stay away from whatever substance they are addicted to, whether alcohol or particular behavior - detox process and voila, they are in recovery.
We wouldn't be facing issues we have nowadays if it was only that simple.
The truth is that the field of recovery research is just beginning to extend. Treatment professional and researchers now believe that there are numerous pathways to follow and there are many aspects of recovery. There is no 'One size fits all' solution.
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. Many recovering addicts can be in a maintenance program for their dependency and in recovery too. They might be on a maintenance plan, like buprenorphine or methadone, but also be clean and have a great personal health. This is a recent development since it was though that one could not be said to be in recovery if they were in a maintenance program.
Recovery is a process in which a person changes in order to achieve better health, overall well being and life standard, but the main reason is to achieve sobriety. The emphasis of recovery nowadays is on staying clean and healthy in the long-term. The process involves changing and rediscovering one's self through growth. Therefore, recovery can be considered as a shift from the crisis oriented, professionally directed, acute-care approach, which emphasises on isolated treatment episodes to a better recovery management approach which will provide long-term support and recognise the many pathways to wellness and health.
It's not practical to put a person through detox and thereafter expect them to carry on with their lives without them using as it is short-sighted and unrealistic.
A lot of issues that have caused a person to turn to substance abuse in the beginning will still be present even after her or his body is cleansed of the toxic substances.
This is why the most effective treatment methods have been seen to be those that focus on treating all aspects of the addiction i.e. the whole-person approach.
Researchers have come to the conclusion that there are many different ways of getting to recovery.
For some it is a very simple thing as getting your life back on track. Recovery has different meanings for people who are in recovery. To a lot of people in recovery, receiving a second chance and a chance to start a new life, the feeling of being born again is crucial and it is in many cases quoted to be exactly that. 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.
A systematic attitude is needed and the most recent model of recovery care incorporates that.
Coordinated support services are needed when utilising a chronic care model of sustained recovery management. Post-rehab observing and support, recovery training based on peers, long-term recovery-directed (and phase appropriate) recovery education, connection to recovery communities and re-definition when needed is what this model is focusing on. Peer networks, constant support, and additional services as a piece of the complete addiction treatment scheme is what this emerging model entails. The ROSCs (Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care) are made in such a way as to help those who are going through addiction recovery to recover, not just over a short period of time, but over their lifespan. ROSCs provide the addict with an array of independent and free options and choices across a wide range of treatment plans and support during recovery. Services are made available in different packages that provide room for adjustment over the course of time in order to suit the changing and evolving needs of the individual who is undergoing recovery.
ROSCs offer clients in recovery access to a complete selection of services that are coordinated to give support throughout their specific road to maintained recovery. ROSCs also include formal and informal community-based support groups that are person centred and built on the resilience and strengths of individuals, families and communities in order to achieve abstinence, health, wellness and quality of lives.
When people face stressful challenges that might lead to relapse, they need access to creative things that they can make use of. These include looking into living in places that offer a conducive environment in addition to having friends and family who do not drink or use addictive substances that one can call when things get tough.
In other words, new connections need to be developed by those in recovery. To make it harder to relapse, it is important to find friends who are themselves not drug/alcohol users. A change in environment is also important especially if you still live in the area where there are other people that use or where you're close to people with whom you used to use. They should take on prayer or meditation or soul-searching so they can focus on their spiritual evolution.
Addicts that have been drinking for a long time, like 20 or more years, can't just complete a one-month program and have a chance of staying sober and clean because they are chronic, severe cases. They require a place where they will get constant support, advising, education and other services, they require a gradual transition to help them become able to join society again and have a solid chance of recovery. A sober-living home or a halfway house may be this transitional step for these individuals.
Things like how to fill out a job application, how to present yourself during a job interview, how to do a resume need to understood by many individuals. A sober-living facility or halfway home helps to set up the individual on a long-term stable path.
Every individual in recovery has specific needs. A strong support system is what they all need in order to build upon their assets in recovery. They may also need to get back some lost relationships with friends and family in addition to finding jobs or even a new place to call home.
Many addicts understand well how peer pressure works. For most recovering addicts, peer pressure plays a role during their period of using. Peer pressure can also have a positive effect during the recovery process. The approach of 12 step groups: encouraging peer pressure will ensure a long term recovery.
Behavioural therapies and counselling should be part of any addict's treatment process. An effective recovery program definitely has these aspects as they are critical to the process.
Medications are, for many people in recovery, a very significant component of their complete treatment plan. 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. Do not expect the medications to begin working immediately because they can take some time to display the effects [antidepressants and anti anxiety indications] and therefore, you should continue taking them in order to allow them the time needed to begin showing improvements in your symptoms.
Joining and participating in twelve-step groups like alcoholics anonymous will also prove beneficial. There are no requirements to join the 12 step groups with regard to religion, politics, race etc. A lot of them have special groups for women. It has been proven effective to participate within these groups during and following the treatment. That means that even if you have completed your treatment you shouldn't give up attending 12-step group meetings. One's ability to lean on and draw on the support provided by others who have been through or are going through the same thing is important in recovery and maintaining sobriety.
Having a condensed version of what to do have proved to be helpful for sometimes to help prevent relapse.
If you do slip, it's not the end of the world. Don't be hard on yourself or see yourself as lacking the necessary willpower. Relapses happen. What do you do? You should return to the path to recovery. Go back into an encouraging environment where you will be able to continue your recovery and have bigger chances of avoiding full-blown relapse.
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. To make it harder for you to relapse again, they can also give you coping tools/methods that they and others successfully used. Most importantly they will help you to understand that relapse is not something unusual because it is preventable and will give you an opportunity to develop your ability to prevent it in the future.