Statistics show that about 20 million people are presently recovering from drug and alcohol addictions in the United States.
In this situation, relapsing is quite easy thanks to the many challenges that they have to face on a daily basis. A lot of them, regrettably, will. The problem is significantly growing, as there are already 22 million people needing treatment for addiction at the moment added to the above numbers. How can such an issue be dealt with? Creating and maintaining a strong support system is vital according to recovery professionals.
A lot of people think that recovery is just a simple abstinence, and they are wrong.
Considering an addict in the recovery phase happens when you get them to stop using, drinking, or taking part in addictive behaviour.
The problems we have today are a testament that it is not that simple.
The field of research into recovery is only now starting to grow. Professionals within the industry and researchers presently have an opinion that there are a number of aspects of recovery along with numerous pathways that should be followed. There is not one solution that is effective for all.
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 may be involved in recovery along with being involved in a maintenance program for their addiction. 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.
An individual can achieve abstinence by going through the recovery process of change as well as have better health, wellness and quality of life. It is extensively being described as long-term and wellness-centered. 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.
An individual who is detoxed will not find it helpful to lead a life of continued abstinence and expecting the same from him or her will be both unrealistic and shortsighted.
There are many problems that could have led to the substance abuse, and clearing the toxic substances through detox does not address these.
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 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. Recovery has different meanings for people who are in recovery. For most, recovery involves getting a second chance, being reborn or having a new opportunity to do things different in their lives. Others define recovery as having a family and friend support network, being free of drugs and other addictive substances, achieving goals, having a positive attitude, having improved living conditions, improved finances and having better physical and psychological well being.
The emerging model of recovery understands that a systems approach is essential.
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. Support after treatment, peer networks and additional services are some of the things being included in this new model for treating addiction. The Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSCs) are created to aid individuals to recovery from addiction problems and disorders for their entire lives. 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. 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.
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.
Individuals should have access to creative structures, which can be utilised when stresses arise and may lead them to relapse. 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.
The point is for those in recovery to develop new 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. In many cases, they need to change the surroundings and place where they live, or they have lived with other people that are still living lives of addicts. They are required to pay attention to their spiritual development with the help of meditation, prayer or introspection.
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 will need a transitional phase along with a place where they can receive continued support, counselling, education and any other services, which can help them to reach a stage from where they can regain entry within the society and have a positive chance at recovery. A halfway house or sober-living might be a good transitional move for people like this.
Skills such as filling of job applications, putting together a resume and how to act in a job interview will need to be taught at this stage. A sober-living facility or halfway home helps to set up the individual on a long-term stable path.
Every recovering addict has different needs. All of them, however, are in need of a reliable support system where they can beef up on their strengths during the period of recovery. Reconnecting with their friends and families, getting a job or finding a place to live may all be necessary.
Many addicts understand well how peer pressure works. During the time they were addicted, the fact of peer pressure could have played a role in their addiction. The benefit of peer pressure in recovery is also apparent to the recovery experts. This is primarily the core of 12-step groups: positive peer pressure can help the individual to manage sustained recovery.
If you are undergoing recovery you can avail of counselling services [individual or group] and other behavioural therapies. These factors are always present in many treatment programs that are largely successful.
For many, but not all, people, medication is a crucial and important part of their recovery. 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. It is also important to understand that some of the medication may not kick in immediately and may take some time to work such as antidepressants and medication prescribed for anxiety, so keep taking the medication as prescribed in order for them to work as designed so that you can see an improvement in your symptoms with time.
Joining and participating in twelve-step groups like alcoholics anonymous will also prove beneficial. These 12-step groups are not affiliated with any denomination, religion, sect, politics, institution or organization. Some of these groups have the men and women in different groups. It's been proven helpful to take part in such groups during and following treatment. So, just going through the treatment doesn't mean that you quit going to 12-step support groups. 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. You must not consider it as a failure, lack of willpower or courage. It happens. What do you do? You should be getting back on 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 of utmost importance that you have a conversation with those who have also found themselves to relapse and gotten back on the right path. They know what you are going through and can help you, as they know what you need during this trying time including support, encouragement and recommendations instead of a judgmental response. They can help you with coping tools that you desperately need, including the things that have worked for them and for others during similar periods of time, so that you will be able to stand against the temptations to relapse even after. Lastly, they will also show you how you can keep yourself from relapsing in the future and help you to understand that relapses happen and they can be prevented.