In the U.S. alone, around 20 million people are in recovery for alcohol or drug dependence.
They face many challenges and problems and any of these can cause them to have a relapse. Many of these people will in fact relapse. The magnitude of the problem becomes more significant if you add to these numbers the estimated 22 million people who need treatment for addiction. How can such an issue be dealt with? Recovery experts say that it is crucial to build and maintain a solid support system.
A lot of people think that recovery is just a simple abstinence, and they are wrong.
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 of the matter is that research on the field of recovery has just begun growing. Professionals in the area of treatment now believe that recovery comprises of many aspects and that there are many ways that one can follow in recovery. There isn't just one solution that suits everybody.
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 can be in recovery and be in a maintenance program for their dependence. They may be on a maintenance program such as buprenorphine or methadone albeit being sober and in good health. Earlier, it was believed that an individual could not be on a maintenance program and considered to be in recovery, so this is a recent recognition.
An individual can achieve abstinence by going through the recovery process of change as well as have better health, wellness and quality of life. The emphasis of recovery nowadays is on staying clean and healthy in the long-term. It includes a continuous process of evolution, redefining yourself, self-discovery and self-change. Therefore, recovery is a shift to a long-term support system that recognizes the fact that there are different ways that one can achieve overall wellness and health from the previous professionally-maintained, minimal are approach that was primarily crisis management hinged on isolated treatment of episodes.
It is both unrealistic and narrow-minded to expect a person to simply go on living a life of sustained sobriety after just detoxifying him or her.
There are many problems that could have led to the substance abuse, and clearing the toxic substances through detox does not address these.
Therefore, the whole-person approach to healing is greatly known as the most effective means of helping addicts to reach recovery.
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. 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.
The emerging pattern of recovery incorporates the importance of having systems in place.
When using a chronic care pattern in order to maintain and manage continued recovery, regular and continued support services cannot be ignored. This model highlights post-treatment administering and support, peer-based recovery, long-term recovery -oriented (and stage appropriate) recovery education, linkage to communities of recovery, and re-invention when necessary. The emerging model also includes ongoing treatment, peer support, and auxiliary services as part of the overall treatment plan for their addiction. The Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSCs) are created to aid individuals to recovery from addiction problems and disorders for their entire lives. Free and independent choices are offered at the ROSCs across an array of treatment and recovery support options. Services are provided in flexible and unbundled packages that develop over time to match the ongoing and changing requirements of the individual in recovery.
A comprehensive array of services is provided to the individuals in recovery at ROSCs which are coordinated to provide support throughout the individual's unique journey to sustained 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.
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. Having a group of friends who don't drink, living in a place that's conducive to recovery and having people that you can call for support are some of these systems.
The point is for those in recovery to develop new connections. To decrease the risk of going back to addiction, they must find new buddies that are not using drugs or drinking alcohol. They often also need to move or change their habitat in order to get away from the familiar places that they associate with using the addictive substances. They need to commit to meditation, introspection or prayer as a means of realising their spiritual development.
One month programs are not enough to offer any hope that people who have been addicts for two decades or even longer are going to go through such programs and thereafter not fall back into the addiction. 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. A halfway house or sober-living might be a good transitional move for people like this.
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. Many people learn how they can be stable in life with the aid of sober-living homes and halfway houses.
Every addict who is recovering has individual requirements. A strong support system is what they all need in order to build upon their assets in recovery. 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. 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. Positive peer pressure is the basis of 12-step programs that help people achieve prolonged recovery.
Behavioral therapy, individual and/ or group counselling is necessary for a recovering individual. 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. Take your medications, if you have been prescribed by a doctor to treat depression or anxiety or to help decrease or get rid of your cravings, exactly as prescribed. 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.
Be part of Alcoholics Anonymous and other relevant support groups and be part of the discussions too. For those who may be wary, these groups are not politically, denominationally or even sect affiliated. A lot of them have special groups for women. Participating in these groups has been seen to make the treatment much more effective. So, just going through the treatment doesn't mean that you quit going to 12-step support groups. In fact, your ability to draw upon the support of others who understand your situation may be the necessity for your sustained recovery.
You will sometimes find it useful to have a condensed version of what should be done to get help in the prevention.
It's not a complete disaster for you to slip. Don't be hard on yourself or see yourself as lacking the necessary willpower. It happens. What do you do? You should be getting back on the path to recovery. So you are more likely to stay on the path to recovery, get yourself to an environment where you'll get the support you need.
Talking with others is also vitally important those who have also gone through a relapse and come back from it. You will need a person to encourage you and provide support and advice without judging you and they will be able to do this because they've been where you are. 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. 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.