1. The Drug and Alcohol Detox Process
When you or a loved one is going through the serious symptoms of addiction, it can be life-altering, and life-threatening. The first step is to get their mind clear again. When someone is actively using their vice, it becomes extremely difficult to “get through to them” about their treatment options, or to even admit that there’s a problem at all.
There are three key stages of detoxifying the body of substances.
Detoxification is not a treatment option in and of itself. Detox flows into rehab, and rehab readies you for your daily life again. When you go through detox, you’re elevating your mind to a previous point, anointing clarity and taking a harsh look at everything you’ve gone through, and everything that’s still to come.
Depending on the severity of toxicity, whether it be through drugs or alcohol, quitting “Cold turkey” is never a viable option. For this, you need to be evaluated by a professional to determine the best ways to “bring you down” from your high in a safe manner. Simply stopping or ceasing to take your vice, without the help of a medical professional, could be fatal.
Getting back to a healthy, stable level of being is the in-between step. When you’re going through detox, you will slowly come down from symptoms of your addiction. It’s the period used to get over shakings, sweating, and other symptoms customary with detox.
This is the final stage. When your body is detoxified, and you are at a healthy stage to pursue treatment options, you are prepped for transition into a rehabilitation center. At this point, the mental struggles for ridding your life of these toxic aspects come in effect. It’s not the end of the road to recovery; it’s only the beginning.
What To Expect Exiting Detox
Through these three stages, you can expect information regarding your next steps in rehabilitation. You’re going to exit a certain comfort zone (the detox center) and enter an entirely new atmosphere, with different purposes and plans. Psychologically, this can have a slightly damning effect. With the right professionals to guide you, and treatment at the ready, the transition phase doesn’t have to rough.
You will leave with an understanding of what’s to come, but that isn’t to say that detox is simply spent staring at the wall while enduring medical treatment. Your body has been riddled with toxicity; you’ll be introduced to a proposed dietary plan for bringing your body back to a prime state, talk with counsellors, and endure assessments and blood tests.
The entire process of detoxification can be a mental strain, trapped between the world you’ve known, and the world you want to live in. Detox facilities are the gateway to rehabilitation, and are a necessary step when addictions reach critical mass.
Detox saves lives, and also helps the beginning transformation to a healthy mindset and lifestyle. They can also assist you in other services regarding your exit back into the world post-rehabilitation, such as sober companions.
2. Approaches To Relapse Prevention
One of the most difficult tasks for an addict is to remain sober after treatment. Rehabilitation and detoxification do work to bring the patient back to a stable, neutral state, but it is not a cure-all. Every single day, patients struggle to push down the negative voices in their heads; the very same voices that denied any and all issues along the way.
Relapse prevention is an essential step in treatment, and can be quite rigorous. When you’re teetering on the brink, a proper relapse prevention plan can be worth its weight in gold. There are three stages you or a loved one may go through just before the ball drops.
These include the following:
- Emotional Relapse
- Mental Relapse
- Physical Relapse
It may sound simple, but this little list of the three stages of relapse is all it takes for a harrowing plunge back into a negative lifestyle.
There’s a prideful boost in your step after leaving rehabilitation, and it only lasts a moment. It’s phenomenal to look back on a tough journey, and say “I did it,” however, it’s short-lived when your mind gets to work dismantling your confidence.
The first sign of full-blown relapse starts out with the patient withdrawing from conversation, giving in to their anxiety, and experiencing absolutely awful sleeping habits.
When emotional relapse strikes, it’s not always apparent. Anger surfaces, and the patient can become increasingly defensive to certain approaches, or just casual conversation as a whole. They’re at war in their mind, trying desperately not to look down on a treacherous climb.
Preventative Measure: This is the stage when therapy or therapeutic methods can help a patient regain confidence, and that “can-do” attitude to prevail over the bends in the road ahead.
This second stage hits when patients begin to fantasize about using their vice again. One quick sign of mental relapse is when a patient surrounds themselves with the same old crowd, which is a fast way to turn back down the bad end of the road.
Patients begin plotting when they’re going to use again, under a “What-if” scenario in their head. Then, it becomes real, and they plan it around their loved one’s schedules. There isn’t always someone beside them, and when they notice a habit in these time patterns, they decide to strike.
Preventative Measure: This is a stage that can be prevented altogether with the help of a sober companion. They accompany them often, and have been there themselves. They know what to look for, and how to keep the patients’ head held high.
This is the last life of defense before the chips fall where they may. Physical relapse revolves around the patient actively seeking out their vice, whether it be parking outside of the liquor store and battling internally, or texting their previous dealer.
Whatever the situation is, time is limited to prevent total relapse. It only takes one use of their previous vice before everything comes undone.
Preventative Measure: This can lead to the necessity for following your loved one around everywhere they go. Their life is going to come and go in waves; be there for them, at all costs, do not allow them to lock-in on their vice.
3. Sober Companion
Our minds are the greatest tools we have, and the most disruptive. When a loved one is going through the detoxification process in a rehabilitation center, they’re going through their own version of hell.
Those who have never suffered from addiction don’t know how tricky your mind can be when trying to convince yourself that you no longer need whichever substance you were using. As such, addicts combat a constant inner monologue that’s telling them to steer from the path—it’s not an easy voice to ignore.
Anyone that’s exiting a rehabilitation center can benefit from a sober companion. The psychological overload when dealing with weekly sobriety meetings while trying to piece your life together can be troubling. A sober companion can help with the following tasks from the moment your loved one leaves the facility:
- Setup a mentally healthy sober living area
- Encourage health and wellness
- Aid in self-esteem building tools and actions
- Connect with positive people for your new life
- Transportation to and from meetings
It’s difficult to listen to someone who’s never been in your shoes. Most sober companions are previous addicts who have been successfully sober for an extended period of time. They are not certified therapists or psychologists, doctors, or sponsors; they are wayfinding experts, having walked in a similar path before. They don’t judge, criticize or discourage addicts in any way.
How Can They Help
A Newly-Rehabilitated Addict Stay Sober?
There’s a slippery slope ahead for anyone exiting a rehabilitation center. Those who have never been addicted are quick to assume that once an individual has existed rehabilitation, that they are simply “cured,” as if such a term existed.
It’s a lifelong struggle peppered with insecurities and potential relapses along the way. Your sober companion is there to help keep your loved one’s head above water during troubled times.
Sober companions can also spot negative behavior that would otherwise be chocked up to the addict’s preferences or personality. Heading down the rabbit hole, as they say, isn’t always a quick junk, and voila—you’re there.
One or two old habits that don’t seem harmful come back into their lives, and before long, everything is back to square one. Sober companions are there to positively impact a recent addict’s recovery process.
Can Ex-Addicts Get There On Their Own?
To clear things up, it’s not as simply as being labeled an “ex-addict.” Those who have struggled with addiction are still fighting that battle every day, which is exactly why a sober companion is a viable option for anyone recently exiting a rehabilitation program.
It’s an ongoing struggle; much like grief, it can get easier with time, while never truly fading away.
The fact of the matter is this: sober companions work. They assist in relapse prevention every single day by empowering recent rehabilitation patients, promoting the quiet, positive voice in their head, all the way through until the war rages on with a 50/50 occupancy.
Courage is a commodity; when those bad days arise, when the possibility of relapse becomes imminent, a sober companion can act as a guardian angel, in a sense. No matter your struggles in life, nobody has to walk every path alone.
This is one such path where it’s encouraged to walk beside someone who’s been there—not in the other direction.