In the United States, approximately 20 million people are in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
In this situation, relapsing is quite easy thanks to the many challenges that they have to face on a daily basis. Many of them unfortunately will. The magnitude of the problem becomes more significant if you add to these numbers the estimated 22 million people who need treatment for addiction. What can we do? Establishing a support system that is strong and reliable is important according to many professionals.
A sizeable number of people equate recovery to abstinence.
Considering an addict in the recovery phase happens when you get them to stop using, drinking, or taking part in addictive behaviour.
We wouldn't have the problems we do today if it were only that simple.
The truth is that the field of recovery research is just beginning to extend. Recovery is complex and has many faces and paths that lead to it according to many experts in the field of addiction treatment. 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. Some people are in two programs at once for their addiction, one for recovery and another for maintenance. They might be on a maintenance plan, like buprenorphine or methadone, but also be clean and have a great personal health. In the past, it was thought that recovery wasn't complete if a person was still in a maintenance program but nowadays it is recognised.
The process through which an individual achieves abstinence, proper personal health, overall wellness and a good quality of life requires change and is referred to as recovery. The changes are increasingly being defined as long-term and wellness centred. It can involve a continuous process of growth, self-discovery, self-change and reclaiming the self. 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 is unrealistic and myopic to expect that an individual will continue to live a sober and healthy life on account of a detoxification process alone.
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.
That is why today one of the most used and efficient methods of assisting addicts get to recovery is the whole-person approach to healing.
Researchers have found that multiple paths exist when studying the paths to recovery.
To some patients, recovery means being able to say they have their life back. Everyone gives their own meaning of what recovery is to them. A sense of being born again, getting another chance and an opportunity to begin new lives is important for many individuals within the recovery and is spoken about as this. Others cite being drug-free, having direction, self-improvement, improved finances/living conditions, achieving goals, improved physical/mental health, achieving goals, more positive attitude, improved family life, and having friends/support network.
A systematic attitude is needed and the most recent model of recovery care incorporates that.
Coordinated support services are important using a chronic care model of sustained recovery management. This model places an emphasis on follow up after treatment, setting up the individual in a peer-based coaching for recovery, intervention when it is needed, linking the individual to recovery communities as well as long-term education on recovery in the appropriate stages. This developing model comprises of peer networks and other support structures as well as auxiliary services as a part of the general treatment plan. The Recovery Oriented Systems of Care [ROSCs] have been developed in order to help individuals recover from problems related to substance abuse and disorders throughout their lifespan. Free and independent choices are offered at the ROSCs across an array of treatment and recovery support options. They provide services in installations that grow with time to address the constant and changing requirements of the person in recovery and that are unbundled and adjustable.
The path to long term recovery is unique for every person and the ROSCs will provide the person in recovery with many different services that are aimed at providing the support they need. Formal and informal community-based supports are included in the ROSCs that are person-centered and build upon the flexibility and strength of individuals, families, and communities to achieve sobriety, health, wellness and quality of life.
Relapse tends to arise due to certain stresses which means that the person in recovery needs to be able to make use of certain systems when these stresses come about. These can include having the information needed to call friends who can offer support and encouragement, developing a circle of friends who are non drinking and non-using and possibly having the right places to live.
In simple terms people in recovery need to develop fresh connections. Those in recovery need to build friendships with sober friends who are able to help them reduce or avoid the temptations of relapsing and reverting to old habits. They are often in need of changing their location, getting away from the environment where they used to use, or lived with other individuals who continue to use. Through prayer, meditation or by looking inside, there is also need to foster spiritual growth.
Hard-core chronic addicts who have been drinking for over 20 to 30 years simply cannot manage to achieve the sobriety which is desired by going through a program which just lasts for 28 to 30 days. Before such people can rejoin society and hopefully stay sober for the rest of their lives, they'll need to first go through a transitional time during which they can be counselled, educated and supported amongst other services. Using a halfway house or a sober living facility will prove helpful for such individuals in this transitional step.
Numerous individuals will need to educate themselves about preparing a resume and how they should present themselves during an interview or how to complete a job application. The halfway house or sober living home will help in promoting long-term stabilisation.
Every addict who is recovering has individual requirements. While they continue on their journey through recovery, the recovering addicts will all need a good support structure. They may need to find a job, a new place to live or to get back their relationships with family and friends.
Addicts are familiar with peer pressure. During the time they were addicted, the fact of peer pressure could have played a role in their addiction. Today, recovery professionals understand the advantages that peer pressure has when used in recovery. Positive peer pressure is the basis of 12-step programs that help people achieve prolonged recovery.
If you are undergoing recovery you can avail of counselling services [individual or group] and other behavioural therapies. An effective recovery program definitely has these aspects as they are critical to the process.
A number of people within the recovery will find medications are also an important part of the overall treatment program. Take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor if you are a prescribed medication - perhaps to help eliminate or reduce cravings, help with anxiety or depression. You should keep taking the medication (anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications) as prescribed even if at first you don't notice any change since some of the medications take time before results are seen.
Join and participate in 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. There are no requirements to join the 12 step groups with regard to religion, politics, race etc. Some of these groups have the men and women in different groups. During your rehab, but also after it, joining these groups has displayed many benefits. Therefore, you cannot assume that you will no longer have to participate with the 12-step group just because you have gone through the treatment. In fact, your ability to draw upon the support of others who understand your situation may be the necessity for your sustained recovery.
There are a few things that you can do that may be able to keep you from relapsing.
It's not a complete disaster for you to slip. It should not be viewed as a failure or a lack of courage or willpower at that. Relapses happen. What should you do? You move back on the road 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.
Talking with others is also vitally important those who have also gone through a relapse and come back from it. The people will be aware about what you are going through and can offer you the encouragement, support, recommendations and a non-judgmental ear which will definitely be required by you during this painful phase. They can provide you with the tools to cope and also give you information about the things that worked for them and countless others, and therefore, you will be able to prevent relapse from occurring again. Most of all, you'll be able to recognize that relapse is not unusual, it is preventable, and you can develop your ability to prevent it in the future with the help of these tips.