We know that addiction and substance use disorder is complex, chronic illness and that long-term recovery is best supported by a continuum of care that includes comprehensive clinical services, monitoring, and ongoing recovery and community support. We also know that an addiction treatment continuum of care is necessary but will look different for each patient based on that patient’s history, clinical needs, life station, family dynamics, and other psychosocial issues.
Detox is often the first step in that vital addiction treatment continuum of care. Detox is necessary to get through the first couple days of physical and emotional discomfort, aid in safe and appropriate withdrawal management, and get to a place where a patient is medically stabilized so they can then move on to the next appropriate clinical level of care. However, due to the mindset of many that suffer from addiction, far too many people believe that “just stopping” drug use or alcohol abuse is enough. Far too many people believe that “sobriety equals recovery.” Far too many people tell themselves and their loved ones, “I just need to go to detox, get clean and sober, and then I’ll be fine.” Unfortunately, for very few people, just going to detox is enough, and for far too many people with that mindset, they end up in a revolving door of detox.
Here are 5 vital suggestions for anyone to take after leaving detox:
Follow aftercare recommendations and listen to the professionals
Again, if you really want to change your life and find lasting recovery, detox is only the first step in a long, difficult, but often beautiful process. In order to find a new life, you are going to need to listen to the professionals in terms of what the best next steps for you will be, including next steps in treatment, finding providers to make sure you’re on any appropriate medications, finding a supportive environment, and helping you gain a foothold into overcoming your addiction, making better decisions, learning how to handle ongoing issues, and finding recovery support systems. So don’t ignore aftercare planning. All evidence points to that fact that recovery success rates can be as high as the mid-80% range if a patient engages in long-term care. What is the point of going to detox if you aren’t going to follow the clinically appropriate aftercare recommendations? Nobody wants to live in an endless cycle of drug misuse, detox, and relapse, and the best way to break that cycle is to listen to the professionals and engage in and with all suggested aftercare recommendations.
Allow for family involvement in continuing treatment
Many patients do not want their families or loved ones involved in their treatment. This is a mistake. Families that engage in a loved one’s treatment experience also receive necessary support, which in turn creates healthier families and family units that are better situated to support a loved one’s recovery. This does not just include family members, but anyone concerned with your treatment and recovery, including but not limited to, employers, EAPs, referring professionals like your therapist or psychiatrist, amongst others. It takes a village, and not allowing those that care about you to be informed and involved in your treatment is not giving you the best chance of long-term success. So, make sure to sign any releases of information, allow them to give input and insight to your treatment team, and allow them to be part of your treatment experience and your recovery journey.
Engage in community-based recovery support
While you are taking all professional suggestions and engaging in all recommended aftercare recommendations after your detox stay, make sure you are also engaging in community-based recovery support groups. This can include 12 Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, Refuge Recovery, or other peer recovery support systems. This could mean engaging in a recovery-oriented system of care (ROSC) organization or a local recovery community organization. However, some form of community-based, peer support is essential to pair with ongoing clinical support.
Follow up with ongoing medical care/recommendations
Many, if not most, individuals that have been dealing with addiction and substance use disorder for an extended period of time and enter detox have additional medical issues. They haven’t taken the best care of themselves physically. Many have not gone to annual checkups with their primary care physician, or taken appropriate steps to manage ongoing medical issues. Example of these types of issues are diabetes, hypertension, obesity, Hepatitis-C, dental and vision issues. Make sure, post-detox, that as you continue to take appropriate steps to deal with your addiction and mental health issues, that you are also taking all necessary steps to handle any ongoing or outstanding medical and physical issues that you may be dealing with. Recovery means change, and an important positive change is to identify all means and avenues of living a healthy life, including addressing and/or managing medical issues that may require care.
Do the opposite of what you want to do/what feels comfortable
There is an old recovery saying that states to find recovery, “all you need to change is everything.” While that is not necessarily true, a profound change in thinking is often necessary to engage is a process of recovery. The mind of an addict seeks comfort and looks to shield the person with substance use disorder from discomfort. It is one of the reasons that people will misuse drugs for so long- because the drugs and alcohol give them relief and comfort and they know that detox, withdrawal, or simply not using substances will cause a great deal of discomfort, at least for some time. After being safely detox, many patients will immediately want to seek comfort in what they know- old people, old surroundings, old living environments, and not want to take the necessary steps or make the necessary changes to truly bring about recovery. Some of those changes may be residential treatment or inpatient rehab, going to an intensive outpatient (IOP) program, going to long-term treatment like extended care, seeing outpatient specialists like a therapist or psychiatrist, moving into a recovery house or a sober home, taking time off from work, changing jobs, moving areas, or one of many other possible scenarios. The normal patient in detox wants to detox, then go back to their life. But, often, that was a life that wasn’t working for them. It was a life of madness, of fear, of hopelessness. It was often a life that wasn’t authentic, or that was plagued by pain, poor relationships, distrust, and financial insecurity. So it is vitally important that, once you finish detox, you take the often uncomfortable suggestions of those that can help you find a happy, successful life of freedom that is waiting for you in recovery. However, you need to trust those professionals, lay down fear, prejudice, or distrust, and understand that growth often comes through pain. Being uncomfortable and agreeing to do things you don’t want to do is not something that most people willingly sign up for, especially those suffering from addiction. But you need to understand that what you want to do and what feels comfortable is often not the same as doing what you need to do or doing what is best for you. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because the amazing change that can happen is right on the other side.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.