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Where do I Start My Recovery from My Addiction?

Starting Points for Overcoming Your Addiction

A commonly held belief toward drug and alcohol addiction is that no one can force an addict to get help. People who are addicted to these substances must admit that they have a problem for which they need professional intervention and treatment. They must acknowledge that they are powerless to help themselves.

Even so, you do have some measure of control over when you decide to work toward sobriety and the manner in which you accomplish this. You can start on the path toward sobriety by learning where to start to recover from your addiction.

Identify Rehabilitation and Recovery Programs

Your first step to regain sobriety should involve identifying rehab and recovery programs. You may consider sober housing programs in your local area. You also may want to look at national programs that operate out-of-state.

Once you narrow your search down to a few choice programs, you should then investigate what kinds of services they offer. You can then choose the one that best suits your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for becoming sober again.

Consider Finances

Many drug and alcohol recovery programs accept both private and employer-sponsored health insurance. Some programs likewise accept government or state-subsidized policies like Medicaid.

Before you choose a program to check yourself into, you should find out if it takes your insurance and how much money you would need to pay upfront. You also may want to find out about any payment arrangements that you can make on your co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses.

Establish a Support Network

You may have felt all alone in your addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, you should not be alone as you work toward regaining sobriety. You need a good support network of friends and family members that you can fall back on while you are in the program and after you are discharged. Sober companions are a great resource and source of comfort to go through recovery with people with experience.

When building your support network, it is important that you avoid people who do not care about your struggles to overcome your addiction or people who compelled or encouraged you to use in the first place. You should not rely on anyone who supported your drug addiction or alcoholism and instead choose people who will encourage you to stay sober.

Anticipate Physical, Mental, and Emotional Obstacles

You may well appreciate that your efforts to become sober will be fraught with physical, emotional, and mental challenges that may tempt you to give up and start using again. It is important that you acknowledge that these obstacles lie ahead of you and that you will have to take them on sooner rather than later during your recovery.

Instead of allowing the prospect of suffering these challenges to freak you out, you should appreciate that you will have a team of doctors, nurses, and counselors to provide you with comfort measures. Your team of professionals will ensure that you get through these obstacles soundly.

Commit Yourself to the Effort

Your last step to working toward sobriety involves committing yourself fully to the effort of starting your sober life. No one can promise you that it will be easy or quick. You cannot halfheartedly take on this challenge and expect to win. Regaining sobriety takes time and effort on your part.

These measures can put you on the path to recovery. You can use them when you are ready to overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol.


Thanks for this guest post by Transcend, a recovery community based in Los Angeles, USA.

Comments

  1. Hi James,

    It’s been a while since I popped in by here but it’s time for my usual pilgrimage to say thanks.

    Tomorrow is a big day for me, it’s my 5 year sober anniversary. Five whole years without as much as a sip of alcohol. While I tend not to look back or count days anymore I will never forgot the support, guidance and encouragement I got through this blog and its comments board. Sobriety would have been much lonelier and harder to achieve without it.

    I never pictured myself being able to beat that habit, and while it still lurks in the back of mind, I know I’ll never drink again. It’s no longer compatible with me or any part of my life. Everything, and I mean everything is significantly better sober.

    So thanks again and keep on inspiring people to take control, take a positive risk and enjoy waking everyday with a clear head.

    Onwards and upwards,

    Keith

    • Great to hear from you again Keith, especially to tell the great news that you’ve hit this milestone! The reasons you’ve stated are the reasons I’ve kept this blog going. Your feedback means a lot to me! I wish you well with your new future and feel free to drop in at any time.
      James

  2. Hi James

    I just stumbled upon this blog today. Searching for tips on how to stop drinking.

    I’m not an everyday drinker, but I’m a hardcore binge drinker. When I’m in the mood, it’s all or nothing. Sometimes that’s okay for me, as I have fun and don’t do anything stupid. But other times, it’s almost as if my life is ruined. Majority of my relationship problems come from the drink. I can get violent and agressive. I’d use physical violence on my partners and have hem use it on me. My current partner is an alcoholic. He drinks every day. Most days he doesn’t get drunk, but when we both get drunk together that’s when the big problems start.

    Only two nights ago we had another domestic dispute over alcohol and the silly choices I make when intoxicated. So although I wouldn’t say I’m an “alcoholic”, I will say that alcohol ruins my life and so does my lack of self control.

    I’ve decided that although I don’t really want to stop drinking all together, it is probably the best route for me as I never know when the bad drunk will come out. The unknown is dangerous. But at least we know there is no risk at all, if there is no alcohol involved.

    I’ll keep coming back here to read your posts and comments and hopefully this time, I’ll be on my way to recovery.

    Thanks for doing what you do 🙂

  3. Hi Brooke,
    Thanks for your comment, and the chance to hear your story. It’s a familiar one, and stokes a chord with my own issues with alcohol. I found the only real honest way was to give it up entirely, and it made a difference to my life. So much so, i cannot imagine going back to it. Keep reading and getting support. Feel free to write comments as you progress and let us know how you’re getting on. Regards, James

  4. Day one for me, I’ve been a heavy drinker for years 2 g&ts and a bottle of red wine are a normal night for me! Normal, who am I kidding?
    I can never just have one like my friends.
    I try and cut down but always end up in the same place.
    Would love to write more but have to go to work.
    Wish me luck! 😊

  5. So I’m stopping Drinking today after the last few Monday’s promising myself I would I always find myself down the alcohol aisle when I finish work.
    I’ve been drinking heavily for years, a normal night is two premixed g&ts and a bottle of red wine. Normal? Who am I kidding?
    And the reason for premix’s? That’s the only way I have of controlling my consumption if I bought a bottle of gin I’d drink half of it in one night, until I pass out.
    I’ve read plenty of stories on here and I’m not a violent or abusive drunk, I don’t drive drunk ( not even one) but I can see I’m generally a boring companion who can’t hold a sentence together and is in bed by 9pm.
    Ive bought in to the whole stylish alcohol marketing, the smart bottles the feeling of sophistication with a glass in my hand, the sound of ice clinking in the glass, but am I really any different from the addict who drinks something on the street from a brown paper bag? I think my label would be a functional alcoholic, I haven’t missed work because of a hangover, but many a day I’ve sat in the loos at work hoping that the nausea will pass soon.
    My brother is also a heavy drinker and last time I stayed at his was before going to see my son at Bath for the day, I cannot even remember going to bed that night and suffered a train journey that just made me feel sick and spoilt my day with my son because I couldn’t say no to “just one more glass” then the shame and guilt comes, but not enough to stop me.
    I think it’s a bit like wanting to tidy out the shed, I want to do it and know that it has needed doing for years but it’s something I have always got an excuse not to do it; family celebration, holiday, feeling stressed at work, I put it off last week because the supermarket I work for had a double staff discount offer on and it seemed a shame to waste it. The fact that I’ve been spending about £50 a week on my habit, has never really seemed a waste!
    The truth is I don’t really want to stop but I can never seem to have just a couple like friends do! I watched a documentary that Russel brand did and he said something like 95% of the population can drink without becoming addicted, I must be in the other 5%😢
    Tonight I’ve got my son, his girlfriend, my new grandson and his other grandad coming for tea, I don’t feel brave enough yet, to do what you suggest and admit to them I’ve a problem and tell them and tell them I’m stopping, so I’m just going to tell them I’m on tablets if they question why I’m not drinking.
    I hope you will humour me on here over the next few weeks, I feel like I’m going to need a far bit of support from people that have been in a similar situation!
    Thanks in advance 😊

    • I wish you luck on your journey Linda. It’s hard, but ultimately very rewarding. I think what you say about marketing alcohol is illuminating…cigarette ads are long gone, and smoking in public is now almost taboo, but alcohol continues to be marketed and as we reach Christmas, there will be a multitude of ads calling us to buy drink! Keep in touch. James

      • Thanks for your reply James!
        1st week under my belt and feeling rather proud of myself, no real withdrawal symptoms except first couple of nights I slept badly, I’m keeping a journal and I’ve an app on my phone which tallies up not only the days I’ve been sober but also how many units I’ve not drank and how much money I’ve saved, me being from Yorkshire, so naturally tight, this has been a great help!
        I worked a late shift twice this week and on the 2nd I felt a temptation, about an hour before my shift ended to buy wine when I finished. However I was called down to checkouts for a query and whilst there I witnessed a man with three bottles of cheap cider on the belt, the operator had quite rightly refused to serve him it as he was already drunk, he was pleading to be allowed just one of the bottles.
        Everyone around him was looking at him with a mixture of pity and disgust.
        And although my heart goes out to him I can only be thankful that I witnessed it, because nobody starts drinking with the intention of becoming a slave to it and it would only be a few stages away for me on the slippery slope to get to where that poor man is.
        Still not doing very well at admitting to family and friends what I’m doing, not even my husband, who’s obviously noticed I’m not drinking, but I’ve done that before (stoptober dry January etc) this time is different as I won’t be starting again. I did tell one close friend and she was supportive but as she can take or leave alcohol, most often leave, I don’t think she really understands!
        Week 2 I hope to update you next week that I’m still doing well!
        Thanks for your ear!
        Linda

        • Hey Linda — I’m new around these parts too (just made my first comment a few mins ago). I am also starting a journal (through a phone app). I also understand what you’re saying about not telling family and friends, although, to be honest, I wouldn’t consider that “not doing very well” or “admitting”. For me, especially as I start out, I want to keep this my personal journey. I don’t think it’s because I don’t want to be accountable — because I plan to be accountable here in this blog, and I actually feel a storng sense of accountability to myself and my decision. I just don’t want to hear the opinions of people I know, quite frankly. Anyway, we all do this the best we can. Hope to hear more from you on the blog. I’m reading backwards in the comments and have reached about mid-2015, so I don’t actually know how active the comments are these days.

          Meg.

          • Good luck meg!
            I’m starting to reap the rewards, better sleep, can read a book or watch a movie and actually remember it the next day! More focused during the day, my skin, particularly my lips are very dry though but I think this is just the toxins coming out. But without wanting to gross you out, my stomach is so much better, no heartburn or wind and to have a wee that’s almost clear shows I’ve been dehydrated for ages. Keep up the good work, we can both do this! X

  6. So, my backstory: I’m a 47-year old single mother of a young teen. I’ve been in a relationship (he’s almost completely a non-drinker) for over 6 years. I’ve always had a problem with drinking to much when I drank, but over the past 7 years it’s gone from binging only when out with friends to binging on my own 5-7 nights a week. My “poison” is white wine, and I am up to 2+ bottles of it in an afternoon/evening.

    I am on Day 3 and am experiencing the euphoria that many people on here describe in those early days. (I’ve read comments from the start of the blog and am now mid-2015!) I am encouraged by contributors’ successes and sympathetic to those who’ve experience setbacks. I am taking strength from all of it, and have been reading avidly.

    I’m looking forward to those little milestones that keep us on track. I’m taking it day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour. I hope that there is a good level of engagement on this blog still because — like some others I’ve read about — I am not a 7-steps group type of person. I prefer anonymous, faceless support! 🙂

    I’ll probably write again about the reasons I have for stopping now and not before. I haven’t truly attempted to quit at any time, so this commitment is a first for me, but I am very serious about it. I will admit that thinking about the finality of “alcohol will never cross these lips again” scares me a lot — so I try not to think about the long term and just focus on today, even though I know my patterns mean that I can’t be a casual or moderate drinker.

    Thanks for reading this long intro, and I’d love feedback from any of you!

    • Hi Meg,
      Thanks for posting your comment. It’s great to hear from a ‘like mind’. The first days are euphoric, i found that i’d finally made my decision and that was it, i was going to head out in this completely new direction. The milestones are important, as they help keep you motivated! A diary was also one of the best things i did at the start. You have so many emotions and fears, recording them down so you can read back as you make progress, really helps.
      I’m happy to hear that the comments are a source of inspiration. So many people have traveled past this blog and left comments, some stuck around for a while and others chipped in with what worked for them. I hope you find the support you are looking for and hope to hear as you make your journey.
      James

      • Very cool to hear from you, James. Thanks for that. It’s nice not to feel like I’m hollering down a well. I think I’ll rely quite a bit on this blog and the ability to comment, so you’ll certainly hear from me again.

        Meg.

  7. Quick question, James — or anyone else who knows. Is there a way to subscribe? It sounded like there was, but I can’t find a link and would like to know if there’s a way to be notified when new posts or comments are added.

    Day 4 today. So far so good! I’m feeling much more energetic in the morning, which is great. Still lagging in the afternoon (when I would use wine after work to pick me up), but we just went off Daylight Savings Time here in Canada, so that probably has something to do with it.

    Thanks,
    Meg.

    • Hi Meg, it’s a good question. I used to have a subscribe page and I’ll try to get it back on the blog before the weekend. Long walks and having time to contemplate really helped me. Keep in touch! James

  8. Sunday morning again and I’m still here! 2weeks sober and loving it! My skin is clearer, my eyes are brighter, my stomach is calmer, my face is less flushed, The niggley pain in my back has gone, probably my liver protesting but I was too scared to go to doctors, my gums no longer bleed when I brush my teeth and the bursitis in my knee hasn’t bothered me, I think I must have been a living mass of inflammation before!
    I realise when my danger zone is now, it’s immediately after work and when I’m cooking supper. The 1st thing I used to do on getting home, before I even got changed, would be to pour myself a gin and tonic and I always cooked with a glass of wine nearby, anyone remember Keith Floyd? Stir, glug, chop, glug, mix, glug, that was me!
    However the danger zone doesn’t continue into the evening once I’m finished cooking, I’m pleased I haven’t drank. I’ve started drinking ginger beer whilst cooking, no alcohol but it still feels like a grown up drink.
    Week 3 starting and next week I’m off work so going to start a fitness ritual, two years ago I was extremely fit but was struck down with the bursitis so I’m going to start swimming and spinning, hopefully my knee will continue not to bother me and I can try a gentle run soon.
    Thanks James for giving us this platform!

  9. You’re welcome Linda. I also remember well Keith Floyd and copied his style throughout college and beyond. Never found me cooking without a bottle of wine, and drinking it at the same time…

    You sound like you are already seeing the benefits of giving up drink. Many others here found the same. It’s one of the things that helps to inspire you daily on this journey.

    James

  10. Sunday morning check in, 3 weeks under my belt and feeling fabulous. Love waking up rested, watching a tv programme and not falling asleep before the end, there’s no ear plugs on my husband’s bed side table ( I’m a snorer when drunk) the bi weekly recycling went out on Friday, I used to try and hide the copious amount of wine bottles under jam jars and vinegar bottles so the neighbours couldn’t see them, unfortunately we don’t really eat much jam or vinegar!
    Been off work this week and haven’t needed to go to the supermarket every day to buy my fix of premixed g&ts and a bottle of red, this is how I limited (haha!)my consumption, by buying one nights worth at a time, if I bought more, I drank more!
    It’s been a productive week as well without any hangovers or early evening drinking, I’ve virtually boxed off Christmas, with a nice pile of wrapped presents in the spare bedroom, I know you will think this ridiculously early but as I work in a supermarket, the last thing I want to do on my days off in December is go shopping!
    It’s little things that mean a lot.
    But the best sober things are the bigger ones; babysat my 7 week old grandson on Monday morning and no hangover or no worries about breathing nasty, stale alcohol fumes on him, we had such a fun time.
    My younger son has come home from uni for a few days for his girlfriends graduation I’m looking forward to talking to him over a cup of tea, without constantly checking the clock and seeing if it’s an acceptable time to open a bottle.
    Out for lunch today with all the family and I won’t be looking for the waiting staff to offer another round of drinks.
    I’m also contemplating telling them I’ve given up but will play it by ear.
    Hopefully I’ll be back next week!

    • Great to hear your progress Linda and to hear all the small plusses of giving up drink like being able to spend time with your grandchildren. Keep going and keep in touch. James

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