Recovering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) takes time, effort, and careful planning. Although you won’t be able to prepare for every eventuality, it is still important to plan out the steps necessary to recover from an AUD and to follow them as best you can. Below are the common steps people take in order to make a full alcohol recovery.
Step One: Admitting There Is a Problem
Unfortunately, many people struggle with this very first step, which entails admitting that there is an issue and accepting the need for help. If you are reading this article, you are probably already aware that there is a problem and at least part of you is ready to admit that, which is a good sign. While many people do not believe this to be a true step in the recovery process, it is crucial because it allows you to acknowledge where you are versus where you want to be.
Ask yourself these questions.
- Do I consistently abuse alcohol?
- Have my loved ones expressed worry about my alcohol abuse on more than one occasion?
- Has my alcohol use led to serious consequences in the past? In spite of this, do I continue to drink?
- Have I tried to cut back or stop drinking and been unsuccessful?
- Have I ever experienced withdrawal symptoms as a result of my drinking?
- Do I feel I have lost control of my alcohol use?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is time to acknowledge that you have an AUD and that you will not be able to stop drinking on your own.
Step Two: Asking for Help
The process of recovery isn’t meant to be weathered alone. Many people feel ashamed of their substance abuse and try to hide the issue from others, but this only further perpetuates addiction. Instead, it is time for you to reach out and ask for help.
Your loved ones will likely be concerned for you, and they may have even voiced this concern in the past. As such, now is the time to ask them for their help. You may want them to help you find a treatment program or you may need to move in with a loved one while you attend treatment. No matter what, don’t be afraid to admit what you need, as now is the time when you will require their support the most.
Step Three: Considering Your Treatment Options
If you are ready to admit that you have a problem with alcohol, it may now be time for you to consider your options for an alcohol treatment center. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is important to understand that treatment for addiction is not one-size-fits-all, and individualized care is the secret to a safe, effective alcohol recovery. You will need to consider a number of variables in order to find the best program for your specific needs.
These may include:
- physical or mental issues
- family or relationship issues
- work or school issues
- legal issues
Once you consider these variables and how they will affect your care, you will know what type of treatment you will need.
Step Four: Seek Out and Attend an Alcohol Treatment Center
Finding the right program for your needs can be difficult, but use the categories above to ensure you find the best option. Once you have chosen a facility, it is important to stay with your treatment program until its end. As stated by the NIDA, drug and alcohol addiction treatment is more successful if you finish out the full program and do not leave early.
During this time, you will be at your most vulnerable, which is why it is important to seek help in an alcohol treatment center. Many people undergo detox first, which is necessary if you are dependent on alcohol. Afterwards, addiction treatment in full can begin.
Step Five: Choosing an Aftercare Option
People often need to choose some sort of aftercare program in order to continue recovering safely once their addiction treatment program ends. Alcohol recovery does not happen overnight, and some individuals even need to attend multiple treatment programs over the course of their lifetimes in order to avoid relapse. You may also choose another type of program for aftercare, such as a sober living facility, attending AA meetings, and/or involving yourself in yoga or other holistic practices.
Step Six: Maintaining Your Alcohol Recovery Over Time
Addicts often have relapses after they have been treated. According to the medical journal Addiction, a recent study found that abstinence rates of treated alcoholics hovered around 43 percent. The best way you can avoid this issue is to maintain your recovery as best you can.
- Always reach out for help if you need it.
- Seek treatment if you feel it will help you. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in recovery; further treatment will always be beneficial.
- Avoid activities and places that lead to drinking, especially early on. Ask for the support of your loved ones in this behavior.
- If someone does not support your effort to remain sober, you may need to distance yourself from them, especially early in your recovery.
- Practice activities that make you feel good about yourself and keep you grounded.
- Avoid stress as much as possible. You will learn coping techniques in treatment. Try to practice the ones that best suit your needs.
- If you do relapse, remember that it does not mean you have failed in your recovery. Get help as soon as possible. Further treatment may also be necessary at this point.
It is important, though, to always remind yourself that your recovery is a work in progress. Remember to treat yourself with as much patience and acceptance that you would expect from someone who loves you, and always stay aware of your needs for a safe, strong recovery.