You don’t know anyone that has been in recovery. Many people would be surprised to find out that a friend or acquaintance has been through recovery for a drug or alcohol problem. Most people choose to not have their addiction and treatment become public knowledge, but the fact is that 4.3 million people aged 12 or older received treatment for substance use disorders in 2009. (1) Half of all American adults know someone who has been in rehab, and many more know someone in need of it.
Drug addicts and alcoholics don’t try hard enough to get sober. While a person does choose to abuse substances in the first place, people don’t choose to continue in a life of addiction. An addiction causes someone to lose control, and they become powerless to their substance, no matter how badly they want to be free from it. Sometimes, the only way for someone to overcome the triggers, cravings, and relapses is with professional recovery through detox and behavioral therapy.
Someone who is a “functioning addict” can get sober on their own. There are people who can live an almost normal life while addicted to drugs or alcohol. While the problem might not seem very serious to those on the outside because the person is able to carry out their responsibilities at work or at home, they may need professional help. The cravings and dependence that a businessman has can be just as strong as those of an addict out on the street.
Treatment is a lonely and isolated journey. Some people wish to have complete privacy during their recovery, and that may work for them. Studies have found, however, that people are usually more successful when they have family and friends around that support them. Sometimes hiding an addiction is detrimental, but opening up and relying on family, friends, and those who have been through recovery can have more successful results.
It is necessary to hit rock bottom for a successful recovery. While many people attribute the change in their life to the fact that they hit rock bottom and had nowhere else to go, not everyone needs to get to that point. In fact, treatment is much more successful if it happens earlier in a person’s addiction, because the harder-core the addict is, the more difficult it is to rehabilitate them.
You can’t force someone into treatment. A person, in the end, has to want to recover for it to be successful, but people do enter into treatment for reasons other than wanting to get better. Family interventions that persuade someone to be carried off to treatment, court orders, and other involuntary means can “force” a person into treatment, and these means are just as effective as a person walking in under their free will.
Treatment is treatment; it’s all the same. One of the main misconceptions about recovery is that rehab is the same everywhere. Many people have failed at their program because they believed this myth. Everyone is different, and there are different types of rehab and different programs that can be tailored to meet someone’s needs. Some people are more likely to succeed if they are in a program with their peers, others thrive in a secluded atmosphere. Still others will require a program that treats their specific addiction or has the medical capacity for them to safely detox. Treatment should be personalized for each patient.
Relapse sends you back to square one. No one wants to relapse. Everyone going through recovery is afraid of it. It is important for someone in recovery to heed the warnings of doctors and therapists, in an effort to prevent relapse. Developing good stress relieving techniques and avoiding triggers are ways to help. But a person who relapses will still have all the knowledge and experiences they gained from the first time around, making it easier to get and stay sober again.
A person’s recovery is done once they complete treatment. Treatment facilities know that recovery is a lifelong process, which is why many have created after care programs and encourage their patients to join support groups. Staying active with a support group or finding an accountability partner will help someone stay active in recovery. The journey of recovery does not end once treatment is over; a person must work to stay sober for the rest of their life.
Some individuals are a lost cause. Just ask some of the millions of people who have been through recovery and are sober today. A great number of them and their family members would say that they had lost hope along the way. Many of these people know they shouldn’t be alive today, and know almost everyone had given up on them as a lost cause. But because of one spark of hope, they were able to recover. It’s never too late to get help. Treatment can work, recovery is possible. Never give up hope on yourself or someone you care about.