While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sobering up, certain things can give you a better chance of success. Some people can sober up even without the help of addiction specialists. While this may be a good path for some people, I believe that the best way for a person to lay a solid foundation for their recovery is to go to inpatient rehab.
Participating in residential rehab has many advantages that make the recovery process run more smoothly. There’s a reason so many people attend addiction rehab because it can vastly help a person regain control of their life! As someone who has both attended and worked in a residential rehabilitation center, I can easily enumerate several reasons why I think residential rehabilitation is the best way to address one’s addiction.
1. A safe environment to sober up.
One of the most complex parts of sobering up is the sobering up process! Cravings, withdrawal symptoms, easy access to drugs or alcohol make the prospect of sobering up on your own extremely difficult. Easy access to alcohol was one of the many reasons I never really got sober until I finally decided to go into an inpatient treatment program. Certain drugs can be life threatening without proper medical supervision. For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice before detoxing. Residential rehab provides a person with a safe place to detox from easy access to drugs and alcohol. If a higher level of medical care is required, inpatient rehabilitation can help you find the safest solution before your arrival.
2. Professional help available around the clock.
Recovery from addiction is not a 9-5 process that goes away in the evening; it is a 24/7 process that often requires help at odd times of the day. During my rehab I had to talk to someone outside of regular business hours. I found it very comforting to know that help was always available at any time of the day. Now that I’ve made a long-term recovery this is no longer an issue, but the consistent support I received over those first few months has been invaluable.
3. Space of everyday triggers.
Trying to sober up while driving at a liquor store every day is downright tricky. Seemingly simple triggers were one of the many reasons I found it so difficult to stay sober before deciding on treatment. Add in the text messages and phone calls from “friends” who were still drinking and using drugs, and the sobriety felt pretty out of reach. Having some time and space away from these triggers while working through the early days of my recovery gave me the space I needed to focus on myself and get through the early days. At this point in my life, I don’t mind driving past a liquor store, but not having to do it during the initial sobriety was a big help.
4. Time to focus on yourself.
It’s hard to focus on recovery when the stress of everyday life is still on you. Taking a break from life to focus on getting sober makes the whole process a lot more achievable. That’s not to say that the person doesn’t have to worry at home. However, when a person is in a therapeutic setting and can focus on their recovery process, they can work better on themselves. Self-growth and healing are not an easy task, so why not make the process as simple as possible.
5. A sense of community in difficult times.
There is a lot to be said about the camaraderie that comes with sharing a challenging experience with others. I will never forget how helpful it was for me to be around other people who had similar addiction problems and who wanted to get better. The only person who can fully understand what it’s like to be an alcoholic or an addict is someone who is themselves – knowing that other people like me are trying to sober up made the whole process a lot more achievable. I even made a couple of friends that I’m still in touch with after nine years. Seeing how far we’ve all come is very special.
There’s something about the added structure that comes with participating in a rehab program that makes the process easier. Knowing what to expect each day can be beneficial when you are undergoing a significant life change. Having rules and expectations gives purpose and something to work towards. Being bored and ideal in early recovery is often a recipe for disaster, so being busy and on a tight schedule can help during this adjustment time.
When a person tries to sober up at home, it is all too easy for them to sneak away and slip. Cravings during early recovery are one of the reasons taking responsibility for rehab can be so helpful. Knowing that you need to be in certain places at certain times helps a person stay on track. Being in an environment where people will notice you are sneaking away also provides the added incentive to stay sober as you struggle through the need for an early recovery.
8. Time away from negative influences.
Many people stuck in an active addiction will have many adverse influences on their lives. Because addiction usually causes people to hang out with other people who drink or use drugs, it becomes difficult to avoid these people in early sobriety. If you cannot completely exclude negative influence from your life, it becomes necessary to have some space. The time and space that residential rehab provides a person during this transition makes it much easier to stay away from negative influences that can lead to relapse. A good program also gives a person the tools necessary to identify and deal with these types of negative influences in their life so as not to further bring the person down.
9. A chance to reset.
There is something about getting out of the house and going for treatment that almost feels like pressing a reset button; if only it was that easy, right? While there is a lot more work involved in this process than pushing a button, it is an excellent opportunity to reset certain things in someone’s life. My time in rehab marked a critical turning point, things before that were very bad, but my life has noticeably improved since then.
10. An outline to follow.
There is a lot of work going into sobering up so why not take the guesswork out and follow a proven system that can work? Having a set program with specific steps to follow will make the whole sobering process a lot easier. I am grateful for my time in treatment because it has given me a solid foundation for a life of recovery and the tools for a better life.