Recovery Consideration

Historically, the most accepted treatment approaches have been the medical model and the 12-Step model. However, the poor success rates of each, along with the high cost of treatment with the traditional medical model, has incited many treatment professionals to explore additional options.

Options to the more traditional models show promise. These recovery approaches, including tools and strategies, are just as effective and are being integrated into a vast selection of treatment programs. Most treatment programs are a mixture of different approaches. These approaches will be explored throughout the book. This is good news for you as it means a greater chance at success by finding an approach that fits your needs. The bad news is that it’s more difficult to clarify which approach, or combination of approaches, is your best option.

Most programs are heavy on group counseling, meaning you deal with personal issues in a group setting. A big debate amongst professionals is whether you can (or should) deal with all of your personal issues in a room full of people who may be strangers to you. Many believe a group setting probably isn’t the best place to talk about deep core issues, definitely not if you feel emotionally fragile. Yet, group counseling has been the model of choice for many treatment programs.

The biggest division in treatment is:

  • Addiction Model: You are an addict, and you must deal with that first. After a year or longer of being clean and stable, you can begin to deal with your deeper issues.
  • Psychological Model: You are a person with negative patterns and core issues that must be dealt with, or you will continue to choose your negative behaviors.

Group counseling is considered an effective approach due to:

  • Peer carefrontation, growing together, and bonding
  • Learning from watching others work through their process
  • Cost effectiveness

Quality programs offer a complete, balanced, and holistic approach – behavioral, cognitive, educational, emotional, medical, nutritional, physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. They encourage and expect the participation of spouses and families, and they provide aftercare for at least one year after the basic program.

When choosing a treatment program, some questions to ask yourself are:

  • What are my immediate needs and how can I meet them right now?
  • How will I stay away from my addiction today?
  • How will I deal with cravings, moods, and other personal issues?
  • What practical support do I need for my medical, emotional, and personal needs?
  • Can I succeed at home or do I need to get away?
  • Can or should I get away from the pressures of life to focus on recovery for a month or longer?
  • What recovery education do I and my family need?
  • What are my most important recovery needs and which treatment approach meets them?
  • What will be my overall approach and structure?

Realize that most people want to choose the easiest option, that which requires the least amount of involvement, no matter what is most beneficial for them. The best answers to the questions above are the brutally honest ones. This is your life; make the best choices for you, not the easiest ones.

Make the best treatment choice, not the easiest one.

Confidentiality: In all professional treatment situations, the law protects your privacy. Without your written consent, a program and their staff cannot disclose any personal information about you, not even that you are in treatment. This doesn’t apply to the other members of the program, who by the nature of your presence will know you’re in treatment. But don’t worry. As you move through your recovery and build acceptance of your situation, you will become more comfortable with other people knowing.

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Treatment Paths

Treatment Paths

Treatment is a term used when working with an experienced addiction recovery professional – individually or as part of a program. With quality support, your journey will be easier and quicker, and your results will likely be stronger, deeper, and last longer. Look for and use the resources in your community. No matter the resources available, if you are committed to your recovery, you can be successful.

Use trusted others to help clarify your best options!

Those in treatment are more likely to stop abusing, engage in personal growth activities, and develop a healthy, happy, and successful life. But many addicts try to recover on their own and fail. If you decline treatment, set goals and be very honest with yourself. Consistently and frequently re-evaluate your progress! If you fail, or even fall short, choose to go into some type of treatment.

Types of addiction treatment include:

  • Private work: Coach, counselor, or therapist
  • Individual and group
  • Inpatient: Professional (in or outside your area)
    • Hospital: Up to 28 days
    • Residential: 28 days, 3 months, or longer
  • Outpatient: Professional
    • Day treatment
    • Evening and weekend programs

Investigate different addiction treatment options until you are certain that you’ve found a workable one. Recovery options need to allow you to determine the pace and direction of your recovery. A careful evaluation with a competent, impartial mentor is a good approach. When you and your mentor have selected your best options, act immediately; do not wait for even an hour!

Your best approach is the one you'll accept and meets your needs.

If you believe that you do not need a hospital, residential setting, or even an outpatient program, consider starting with a less intense approach. First, try one session or more a week in a group, a self-help meeting, or with a professional.

Along the way, review your progress with the help of your mentor or professional support. It’s essential to accept more intensive treatment if you’re progressing poorly. Notice your mental-emotional signs of relapsing, such as negative attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. Ask your support group for feedback and for help if needed.

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Phases of Recovery

Phase Two: Intermediate Recovery

Intermediate recovery starts after the building of your foundation has begun and takes at least one to two years. The goal of Phase Two is to adjust to living in recovery and facing life on life’s terms, all while completing your foundation and becoming comfortable. This includes finishing all tasks, goals, and milestones; dealing with all current issues; and developing and using important tools and strategies.

During Phase Two, you’ll settle into your new recovery patterns, experiences, and relationships, and they will become familiar to you, even easy. But your past temptations are not that far behind you, and you must stay aware of this. Your concerns about maintaining a positive attitude, stability, and inner strength during early recovery gradually lessen and become only occasional concerns.

The quality of your program shapes the pace of your recovery.

Phase Three: Continuing Recovery

Phase Three, continuing recovery, will begin after you’ve built a solid, quality foundation; consistently dealt with immediate issues; started processing your deeper personal issues; and established a period (6 months minimum) of crisis-free, stable recovery. This will likely take at least one to three years beyond intermediate recovery to complete, extending through your fifth year of recovery. During this phase, childhood, adult, and other major life issues at your deeper core will begin to be fully explored, addressed, and hopefully (at least partially) resolved. These issues are ongoing, so don’t get discouraged! You have all the time you need to deal with them! Just do your best.

Let Go ~ Apologize ~ Forgive

You can move past your history,  live fully, & thrive in the present!

It's in Your HANDS: Have all needs deeply searched. Learn to keep a child-like curiosity.

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Phases of Recovery

Recovery does not happen at once. It occurs in phases. There are many theories regarding the correct number of phases and their length. Each theory is an opinion and is meant to act as a guideline. In general, the length of time it takes to complete each phase is mostly based on your efforts. Completing specific tasks doesn’t necessarily end a phase. Recovery can’t just be computed. It also has to be felt. Rather than completing tasks like a robot, attempt to sincerely connect with your full emotional experience and the spirit of recovery. This approach will give you a greater chance of success.

To achieve and maintain quality recovery, do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes!

Phase One: Primary Recovery

Phase One, the primary recovery phase, starts the day you commit to your recovery and extends for about six to twelve months. The goal of Phase One is to develop the foundation you need to be successful in recovery. In this early recovery period, it’s vital to open up your mind and build a support team. Listen to trusted others, work with a mentor, and, if required, seek the advice of a MD. Work within a recovery structure, completing needed tasks and goals.

Withdrawal from drugs and sugar occurs during the beginning of the primary recovery phase. Your initial treatment program is completed during this phase. The supportive treatment that follows primary care, is usually called continuing care or aftercare. This aftercare is very valuable. Make use of it!

It’s essential that you stay actively involved in your recovery throughout Phase One and beyond. It is widely believed that you should maintain a solid recovery structure for at least two years; however, you need to be involved in your recovery for as long as is necessary to be successful. Many people stop participating early and relapse.

Phase One: 6-12 months building a foundation - Listen, learn and follow.

The Three Major Stages of Primary Recovery are:

Withdrawal: During the initial period of physical and emotional withdrawal, you need to focus on taking care of yourself. Consume quality nutrition, drink water, and exercise; be around supportive people and attempt to do small but positive and productive tasks. Stay focused on necessary and immediate needs and issues you can do something about. Initial drug withdrawal will take between a few days to a few weeks (six or more for marijuana). For some medications, it takes years for full withdrawal.

High-quality nutrition reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Honeymoon: As you start to become healthier, you may feel overly happy with your newfound recovery. The return of your health, energy, and brain chemistry may make you feel ready to go. You may have thoughts of ending treatment. Be very careful! This sense of well being isn’t entirely whole. You aren’t healthy yet. It takes time to heal, so don’t take on things that are unnecessary. Focus on building your recovery. Usually, this honeymoon feeling will last about three months, but it varies according to the person and the addiction.

Always remember your negative using history! Especially if early recovery is easy!

Facing Reality: The truth of your reality at this point may be more about the wreckage than the rewards, and that’s hard to deal with. You’ll come down from the honeymoon period and remember that parts of recovery are hard, not just positive and happy. This becomes a risky period. At times, you may feel like going back to old, familiar situations that provided a false sense (even briefly) of happiness. Because early using memories may be pleasant, they can easily be romanced. Remember, this is a relapse symptom. Breathe and face reality. It is the only way you can move past the wreckage.

Always remember your negative using history! Especially if early recovery is easy!

During Phase One, many people will feel better quicker than expected. This may lead them to question if they were as sick as they thought. Always remember your past. Your recovery process should follow a proven approach that works for you, and then add personal aspects to meet your unique needs.

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