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How to start your journey to recovery

recovery

Sydney Schulz on January 15, 2021 at 7:29 AM


Written by: Johnathan Egan 


Deciding to give up drugs or alcohol and asking for help is a huge step and not an easy one to make. It's like taking a road trip to freedom, one that may last for years can imply numerous ups and downs, and one that some may never finish. Recovering from addiction is a very challenging process, especially for those who have found solace in it and use it as a means to cope with life difficulties. However, if you have decided that the time to embark on the path of sobriety has come, that you want to break free from the shackles of addiction, this article will help you start your journey to recovery. You will read about what you can expect from a treatment program and the initial stages of recovery. 


The very first step necessary to start your journey to recovery is admitting you have a problem. 

Although we all know that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, it is much easier said than done. Also, to some, it may seem like a cliche. However, it is very accurate. What is more, it is the most critical step on this journey, and it will determine how successful you will be. You have to admit to yourself that you have a problem before you can realize that things have to change. YOU have to want things to change. No external influence can make any difference, no amount of pleading from the family. If you are still in denial, nothing can make you want to change. 

Therefore, if you have realized that you need help, you should be very proud of yourself. You have overcome one of the most significant obstacles on this journey. Congratulations! Now, keep an eye on the prize and never lose sight of your final goal. 


The next step is seeking support from your family.

Addiction is very lonely. It is the cause of many arguments with your family members, lost contact with friends, and failed relationships. However, having a support system is essential during recovery. It's one of the determining factors of your success as you will have someone to lean on during difficult times and lower the chances of relapsing. Therefore, ask your loved ones for support because they will provide you with motivation and encouragement to persevere. The more people you have in your corner, the better. It will help you stay on track if you have someone rooting for you, boosting your confidence, bringing you back to reality. 

Also, if you only have yourself to answer to, it may make it hard to stay on the right path. Never forget that your journey to recovery begins and ends with you and your decisions. However, you must be aware of the fact that your addiction affects other people in your life. 


Going through detox.

This short but exceptionally uncomfortable stage is inevitable on your path to sobriety. Detox happens when you quit drinking or using substances and let your body clear from them. It will leave you with a clean slate and a starting point for a much longer and more challenging process, the therapy. 


When you start experiencing the withdrawal symptoms during the detox stage, it can be tough for you. You may even experience seizures due to the stress your body suffers. It can be terrifying and even life-threatening. The common symptoms of withdrawal include pain, muscle cramps, and extreme nausea. 


Apart from the physical effects of detox, some mental health issues can occur. These can be even more dangerous than the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Depression is very common for people who are detoxing. They may also become delirious, experience hallucinations, suffer from paranoia, and feel unable to think clearly, making them perturbed.


Consider entering a treatment program

Due to all the unsettling feelings regarding the withdrawal symptoms you know you are bound to experience, it's advisable to enter a certified treatment program to help you get through it. You will get medications that will reduce the severity of the symptoms, they will monitor your health, and you will receive adequate care in case of life-threatening issues. The staff at these facilities are trained to deal with all the ugly aspects of the detox process. They understand that this is an arduous task for you, both emotionally and physically. Therefore, they will know how to guide you and help you get through all of it. 


Going into therapy and becoming involved in peer support groups is essential.

It is vital to understand that addiction is a much deeper issue than a physical symptom. We know now that addiction is not only caused by substance abuse. There are many other activities that a person can become addicted to, for example, gambling or shopping. Just like illicit substances, these activities can also alter the chemical balance in the brain. This tells us that how the brain's reward center is stimulated is what causes addiction, rather than the chemicals themselves. For this reason, dealing with these mental issues is a crucial element of recovery. 


Therapy will deal with the root cause of your addiction. It is essential to discover what allows it to continue to exist. Is it the difficulty of coping with uncomfortable emotions or those caused by trauma? Counseling will help you uncover the flaws in your way of thinking and teach you how to modify it. It will also equip you with the coping mechanisms and skills needed to deal with negative thoughts and detrimental behaviors. 


Joining a recovery community is one of the most important things you can do for your recovery. Peer support groups are a fantastic way to connect with other people going through the same situation as you. They will  provide you with the necessary support and guidance to stay on the right track. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the two most notable ones, but there are many more you can find, including Live Rite’s weekly meetings. To learn more about Live Rite’s recovery homes, visit www.liveriterecoveryhomes.com or call (586) 217-5899 to schedule an intake. 


Sometimes, a change of scenery can be helpful.

If you realize that your current surroundings don't benefit you or threaten to pull you back, perhaps you should move to a different location. Sometimes, when you change the environment you are in, your whole outlook on life can change. It can take you away from negativity and help you steer clear of detrimental behaviors. Relocating can be a symbol of a new start.


Final thoughts

When you are about to start your journey to recovery, it may be helpful to know what you can expect. It can help you relieve some of the fears and make the whole process go easier. Also, remember that the road to recovery is different for everyone. As the Chinese proverb says, The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The most important thing is taking that first step. And the rest of the trip, you don't have to handle it alone. Having a sound support system in place will help you abstain from substance or alcohol abuse and remain free. Good luck on your road to sobriety!


Written by: Johnathan Egan 


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