Making the conscious decision to detox from drugs or alcohol is not always easy. You likely want to pursue a clean and sober life, but are also fearful of the road ahead. By using a multifaceted approach to recovery, you stand a better chance of long-term sobriety.
Never Do It Alone
You should never attempt a detox on your own—at minimum, the physical process can be miserable, and you will naturally want to take drugs just to alleviate the symptoms. Detoxing from some types of drugs can be dangerous, especially alcohol and other drugs that alter your seizure threshold, such as benzodiazepines. You may need anti-seizure medications to prevent irreversible damage caused by seizures.
When you detox under the supervision of a medical professional, they will keep an eye on your vitals and other needs to ensure you do not develop dangerous symptoms. They may give you medications to alleviate some of the symptoms and make the process more bearable. For some drugs detoxes, it is important to have access to fluids from an intravenous line. Narcotics and other medications that typically cause constipation will have the reverse effect during detox, leading to chronic diarrhea.
Address Psychological Needs
Addressing your physical needs while in recovery is only one part of staying clean. You need to discuss your mental health needs with a psychologist and possibly a psychiatrist to make sure all facets of your life are being met. A common concern with people who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse is they often have underlying mental health concerns. Some common mental illnesses are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorders. In many cases, drug or alcohol abuse can be a method of self-medicating or part of the characteristic reckless behavior with bipolar mania or some personality disorders.
Prescribing medication for mental illness in people with a history of drug or alcohol abuse is difficult. Finding the right medication may help some people in recovery by making it a little easier to deal with their problems or make their mood more stable. Unfortunately, many of these medications do not interact favorably with drugs or alcohol, and some people in recovery may not have a positive history as far as compliance with treatment.
Increase Your Accountability
Accountability is one of the hardest parts of living a clean and sober life. Many drug detoxification programs have private and group therapy sessions that help people in recovery become more accountable for their actions, especially if their drug and alcohol abuse has hurt others. If you are not in an in-patient program, you should find outpatient counselors who specialize in recovery. Many people in recovery find they can relate to counselors who have overcome addiction and are now working to help other people.
Another way to increase your accountability is to set goals for yourself where you need to be more dependable. For example, volunteering at a local organization that helps provide food or clothing to those in need might be your way of staying busy. Additionally, you would be putting yourself in a position where other people are depending on you to make good choices and be at the organization on time.
Some people find they are more likely to stay clean and meet their demands because they do not want to disappoint or inconvenience others. Similarly, the longer you stay clean, you should think about outlets that allow you to counsel people in recovery. Your experiences and what you have done to stay clean can be valuable information to the next person. As a counselor, the responsibility of being there for other people and the expectation that you will be a person of your word can be important for maintaining your recovery.
There is no easy way to reach sobriety and stay that way indefinitely. With the appropriate resources and mindset, you will have the best possible shot of leading a life free of drugs and alcohol.