Living with a chronic alcohol or substance abuse addiction is extremely painful, costly, and destructive for most people who struggle with these issues. No one enjoys this kind of lifestyle, yet escaping it successfully and permanently can be challenging. The dangers of alcohol abuse and drug addiction are well known, but these problem behaviors can be overcome with a heartfelt and determined commitment to recovery. The following factors can help you decide whether you are ready to get clean and sober.

Conduct a self assessment.

People who are truly serious about kicking their addictions once and for all will typically do a self assessment to identify the scope of the problem. Things they will want to know include how long they have actually been abusing alcohol or drugs, the extent of the impact on themselves and others, triggers for the addictive practices, recovery programs they have tried that did not work, and realistic expectations for changing their lives to help them meet recovery goals. They will also need to consider factors like family responsibilities and a work schedule if they are employed. Finally, mitigating or contributory issues like mental illness or multiple addictions should be evaluated to determine a starting point in the recovery process.

Explore recovery options.

Detox is the first step to beginning a recovery program. Whether someone is involved with alcohol abuse or drug addiction, detoxing the body of any residual alcohol or drugs will prepare a person physically and mentally for the long journey of rehab that lies ahead. Alcohol rehab or drug rehab options often include in-patient or outpatient treatment programs. The person should be carefully screened by a doctor who specializes in addiction and recovery to help the addict to make a decision suited to that person’s unique needs and lifestyle. A single mother of two preschool children may not be able to enter a thirty-day inpatient program if she cannot find suitable child care. However, she might be eligible to participate in an intensive outpatient program several days per week with medical monitoring of her symptoms, therapy sessions to deal with root causes, and group activities for added support.

Explore recovery options.

Develop a support system.

Someone who is trying to recover from an addictive behavior is more likely to succeed with the help of a support system. This may involve family members, a relationship partner, or community group support. Individual support can be offered via phone, text, or social media, while in-person meetings help to establish a living bond of support and trust. Because alcohol rehab or drug rehab is so important to getting the person on the right track, it is essential to avoid people with whom the addict has spent time drinking or using drugs, as they may draw him or her into addiction behaviors again.

Change lifestyle behaviors.

In addition to the above steps, the addicted person must be willing to change lifestyle behaviors that contribute to or support addiction. This often means changing friendships and recreational activities; sometimes it requires changing a job, for example, if someone battling alcohol addiction is a bartender. In fact, alcohol probably should be avoided altogether, including attending events where alcohol will be served. Parties where drugs will likely be used should also be avoided. Doing the same kinds of behaviors with the same former friends typically leads to relapse.

Make a commitment.

Putting all these factors together, someone who is serious about recovery will need to make a one hundred percent commitment to working with professionals and doing the work needed for getting sober and clean, and staying that way. It is not easy, but it has been done by many individuals who were determined to escape the addiction lifestyle. In addition to consulting doctors, therapists, and support groups, people who want to live without alcohol or drug dependency can read books, watch videos, and visit websites for additional information and helpful resources. Finding a sponsor or accountability partner has also been proven effective in helping someone escape addiction.

As more people fall under the influence of drugs and alcohol, society is developing greater awareness of the scope of the problem and the best ways to help someone beat addiction. However, this work cannot be done by others. It must be undertaken by the person struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, along with the support of loved ones and professionals who are willing to make the recovery journey alongside the person committed to rehab.

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