Addiction takes over your life. When you wake up one day and realize this has happened to you, it’s natural to think that you had just gotten a little lax and all you have to do to get back in control is exercise some good, old-fashioned willpower.
If you were diagnosed with cancer, would you suggest that you don’t need to see a doctor, and that you just need to exercise some serious willpower to make that tumor go away? Of course not.
What many people discover is that willpower alone isn’t enough to overcome their addiction. As they try to get sober and fail, they may think that the problem is with them, that they’re just not strong enough.
Thankfully, this isn’t true. The fact is regular use of addictive substances like alcohol makes changes to your body and brain chemistry that require medical and psychological intervention to get your body back to functioning correctly without alcohol.
Luckily, alcohol addiction is much more treatable than diseases such as cancer. With the right comprehensive care and a team of experts at your side to help you get well, you can kick the habit for good and avoid the cycle of going in and out of rehab, seesaw between sobriety and relapse, all while wondering what is wrong with you.
Let’s take a look at the best practices available in the addiction recovery field, some of which we utilize here at Reflections Recovery Center, an Arizona-based specialist in addiction treatment.
The Three Stages of Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment can be grouped into three major stages:
- Intervention and Commitment to Treatment – You can’t fix a problem until you know you have one and are serious about solving it.
- Primary Treatment – This usually takes the form of inpatient residential treatment, where a patient stays at an on-site facility for at least a month in an immersive healing environment. For those who need to continue living at home and working, an outpatient program may provide effective treatment multiple times per week for several hours at a time.
- Aftercare Support – Long-term support is critical to maintaining the healing that was done in primary treatment, and it’s also the key to preventing relapse.
Modern and Traditional Best Practices for Treating Addiction
To overcome alcoholism for good, you need treatment methods that have stood the test of time, as well as modern approaches that have been proven effective.
Personal Commitment to Treatment
Although willpower alone isn’t enough to stop drinking, it is enough to seek out help. In fact, this commitment is critical: No one can force a person to change if they haven’t decided that they want the change.
Professional Evaluation and Individualized Treatment Plan
Each person turns to alcohol for his or her own reasons. Creating a treatment plan that is customized to each person’s needs provides the best opportunity for long-term recovery. At Reflections Recovery Center, we begin with a mental health evaluation, medical history review and physical health examination by our doctor. Then, we work with the client to create a treatment plan tailored to their needs.
Medically Supervised Detoxification
Detox involves ridding the body of a harmful substance, and is the first step in getting the body back to normal functioning. This is done under medical supervision since, in some cases, the detox process can be dangerous if not done correctly. Our medical staff is on hand 24/7 to watch over clients’ health and help ease discomfort from withdrawal symptoms.
Mind-Body-Spirt Wellness Approach
Since mental, emotional and physical well-being all influence one another, a comprehensive treatment program seeks to heal the whole person, not just cure physical ailments. Relapse back into addiction is less likely to occur if the source of alcohol abuse is addressed and the client is taught new skills to build a stable life.
Individual and group therapy sessions led by professional counselors help clients address the emotional and psychological factors that led them to alcohol abuse, as well as the events that resulted from the addiction.
An emphasis on balanced nutrition and healthy activities such as walking, hiking, sports, yoga, etc. helps clients build strength in the short term and begin to develop lifelong healthy habits. At Reflections, we place a strong emphasis on adventurous outings and gatherings that combine physical activity and emotional healing by coming together as a group to have fun.
A key component of a recovery program involves interaction between those going through recovery together. Recovering from addiction is like going to war together, where the enemy is addiction. Support and encouragement from peers happens in more formal settings, such as group therapy sessions, and at informal gatherings like basketball games and BBQs.
Groundedness and/or Spirituality
Addiction often stems from, and leads to, feelings of helplessness, insecurity and loss of control. Getting in touch with something that feels solid, reliable and imparts a sense of purpose and autonomy is an essential part of the foundation for a healthy life free from addiction.
Some people find this base through religious or spiritual practices, yet even those who don’t believe in a higher power can learn to tap into an inner core of strength that they can rely on in any circumstance.
Education and Training
People often come into rehab with gaps in their knowledge about how to address the issues that led to addiction. Small-group educational sessions, which offer time for questions and discussion, give clients the knowledge and skills they need to build the kind of life they want for themselves once they leave rehab.
Family Support and Healing
Addiction is especially hard on relationships with loved ones. The education you receive during treatment can help you learn how to mend relationships.
At Reflections, we also have a Family Communication Specialist who serves as a liaison between the client, their family and their therapists, making sure that important messages are communicated between the family and client during treatment, without hindering the client’s ability to focus on treatment.
Because relapse back into addiction is common, a robust aftercare support program is an important part of any long-term recovery program. Reflections graduates have the opportunity to apply for our alumni program, which includes three months in a sober living home while we assist them with finding permanent housing and employment.
Those who already have a home and job to go back to can continue to benefit from our social gatherings, support group meetings and aftercare services as they desire.
Taking On Addiction Together
No one should have to struggle against alcohol addiction alone. This is a very curable condition, with the right assistance.
If you’ve been beating yourself up for not being able to overcome addiction on your own, it’s time to change your approach and channel your willpower into seeking treatment. Commitment to treatment can only come from you. The rest you can get help with.
If you’re the family member of a loved one who is struggling with addiction, and if you’re perhaps feeling frustrated and worried, there’s support for you, too.