What is Recovery from Substance Abuse?
This question seems so simple yet there are various phrases and descriptions many with subtle differences. We hear the words clean, dirty, sober, dry, dry drunk, in recovery, recovering alcoholic, on the wagon, the list continues. We also hear the terms substance abuse, chemical addiction, drug addict and alcoholic. To condense the list to it’s simplest meaning we are either using some form of mind altering drug* or we are not. The difference lies not how a person extricates oneself from the addiction but rather the results after cessation. This can vary dramatically from episode to episode and from person to person. There is a broad path towards different types of recovery and how it is achieved. The bottom line is accomplishing the goal and precipitants are not tremendously important. Obviously no behavior is permanent and is continually in transition, both positively and negatively. The following stages delineate the process of achieving recovery in a manner that has a high probability of success and can lead to a permanent changes in the addict’s life, as well as those associated with him.
*Alcohol is definitely a drug, as is nicotine, prescription medication, and over the counter pharmaceuticals
- 90% of recovering addicts relapse
- Interpersonal relationships cause the most severe cravings
- Family participation doubles rehab success
- Alcohol is the most medically damaging of all drugs
The first stage is sobriety
Plainly, this means cessation of all mind-altering substances. This doesn’t mean the one drug you believe you have a problem with, but all substances. Too many addicts believed they only had a problem with a specific drug, which they were able to quit, only to find they had substituted a different one, resulting in similar problems. Cessation is primarily the result of a variety of behavioral techniques that aid in establishing new “clean” lifestyle patterns. This first stage is ongoing and is continually refined.
The second stage is stability
It’s a relatively simple task to maintain sobriety for 24 hours, one week or 30 days. Many people can achieve some variation of this for a specific period of time. This is especially true in a treatment facility where there are fewer temptations. The challenge arises when one must deal with life on life’s terms. Marin Drug Recovery is well aware of this predicament and is continually monitoring the client’s environment and dealing with these challenges on a “real time” basis.
Stage three is recovery and it is the most difficult step
Unfortunately determining how to quit one’s “drug of choice” is the simple part of the equation. The challenge is figuring out what caused addiction and how to live one’s life differently. The underlying factors are often clouded, denied and confusing. The process of uncovering these core issues requires patience, courage and willingness. Without discovery relapse will eventually return. Without sobriety discovery is impossible!
The fourth and final stage is sustainability
This lifelong stage will bring pleasure and fulfillment to the client. We realize that treatment does not end upon discharge. The real challenge is to stay sober once you leave the program. We provide extensive aftercare and follow-up for all clients who successfully complete our program.