While there are a variety of steps necessary to recovery from addiction, the following six are considered essential:
- We need to admit to ourselves, and others, that we have a problem with alcohol or drugs and that we need to make a change. Regardless of why we decide we need to make this change in our lives, before we can do anything about it, we must first recognize and acknowledge the problem itself.
- Figure out what kind of rehabilitation will work best for us: inpatient, outpatient, therapy, or self-help. We need to fully explore our treatment options, determine which one is best for us, and most importantly, stick to it.
- Make sure that we have support in place from friends, family and others, to help get through the tough times. This is critical. We need others to help us get sober, and stay sober. Without that support, we won’t have that all important safety net required to avoid succumbing to triggers and cravings, making us much more vulnerable to relapse.
- Maintain our sobriety by participating in an aftercare program that will help us in avoiding situations that may create triggers or cravings. Many people have found that attending 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous are tremendously helpful. However, there are other groups that offer secular approaches, such as LifeRing and SMART Recovery, among others. As an alternative, we can also choose to see a therapist or participate in group therapy.
- Once we have completed the recovery process, we need to begin to build a new life, without the friends and places that triggered the desire to get high. We need to find hobbies to stay busy, and start setting life goals to work towards.
- If we do fall off the wagon and relapse, it is very important to forgive ourselves so that we can make a plan to get our recovery right back on track. A relapse does not mean that we are failures and can never make it work. In fact, many experts say that relapse is part of the process of recovery from addiction. Sometimes there are bumps in the road. The most important thing is that – no matter what – we don’t give up and we keep trying, putting one foot in font of the other.
Addiction recovery steps are not easy. We may have slipped into addiction without noticing, but we will feel every step along the path to recovery. That’s why it is key to have help and support, especially in the first year of being sober, to keep triggers and cravings at bay, and to help battle them when they do occur.