Many people from all walks of life suffer from drug or alcohol addiction at some point in their lives. It can be alarming to realize that you have developed a dependency on a chemical substance, whether it is a prescription painkiller, something easily obtainable like alcohol, or a drug you started using recreationally. Addiction can leave you feeling enslaved by the substance. Even if you are able to hold things together when it comes to work or your social life, it can have devastating effects on your own self-esteem and your ability to do the things you want to do. Naturally, it can also have a bad impact on your health and is expensive.
So, if you or someone you love has found themselves in the grip of a substance addiction, what are the options to get on the path to recovery? For many people, going to a professional rehab center is the most effective solution, and you can discover more about organized rehab and what it offers here. However, rehab is not the only thing you can do, and here we are going to look at whether or not you should go into rehab or try other ways to get yourself sober.
Why is Rehab Useful
Rehab is often the best choice for people who need to overcome an addiction because it gives you access to the professional help that can benefit you throughout the initial detox and the later stages of recovery that can help you reintegrate with life. In a rehab center, the withdrawal period where you may be in physical danger (especially if quitting alcohol or opiates, which can have very serious withdrawal symptoms), will be supervised by medical professionals and you will be given medication if needed to help you avoid the worst of it. You will then have opportunities for therapy sessions with counselors, both in group and solo sessions, that can help you identify and deal with the underlying causes of your addiction problem. While you are going through this process, you will be in a safe, comfortable place away from temptation, and this can also be a big factor in helping some people gain the strength to stay sober.
Rehab can be a life-changing experience for people who have dealt with addiction for a long time and it can help them gather the mental and social resources to make their recovery permanent. However, there are, of course, reasons why not everyone can choose rehab as an option. It does mean being away from home and off work for a period, and cost and location can also be prohibitive for some people. So, what other choices do people who want to get better from their addiction have?
Can You Quit On Your Own?
If you have a strong desire to quit alcohol or drugs because you have seen that they are having a destructive influence on your life and your dependency is no longer within your control, you may be able to sober up at home. This can be a way to avoid having to leave your family or take too much time off from work. It will also mean you don’t have a permanent medical record of seeking help for alcohol or drugs. It is also an option that is free and will not mean claiming on your insurance. It is, however, hard.
If you are dealing with alcohol addiction, simply quitting cold turkey without medical supervision can actually be fatal, so you either need to use a ‘tapering off’ strategy or see your GP for advice about medication. You should also make sure someone is around to watch over you as you go through the first few days and can call for help if you go into a dangerous state. Tapering off can avoid the riskier withdrawal symptoms with both alcohol and many drugs, but it also presents a serious challenge to your willpower. You will need to be sure you can stand to only use or drink the bare minimum to keep symptoms at bay for the days during which you are weaning yourself off. People who have a strong drive or reason to quit can often manage this, but people who lack that motivation are often better off doing a medically supervised detox that doesn’t involve tapering.
If you can’t choose residential rehab but don’t like the idea of going it alone, there are also groups that you can join like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These groups are in almost every town, usually at churches and other public places, and meet daily in most cases. They allow people to come and get the support of others in the same situation, share their struggles, and provide a healthy community in which you can get over your addiction. Of course, like rehab, they are not for everyone, and some people prefer to keep their issues private. Some people also don’t agree with the philosophies of these organizations. However, they are there as a free resource that has helped a lot of people over decades, and so can be a good help to you if you aren’t able to go into formal rehab.
You may also find that there are groups and forums online where you can talk to other people going through addiction issues and get some support and help. These don’t offer the same element of structure and accountability as things like AA meetings but can help a lot if you are feeling alone or isolated during a home detox.
As you can see, there are a lot of merits to going into rehab, but if you can’t, that is no reason to give up on trying to get clean from your alcohol or drug problem. Most people are able to find a strategy and solution that works for them, whether using local free groups or relying on their friends and family at home. Just be sure to choose an option that will be medically safe, and to have at least one person who is supporting you through it.