It’s a New Year. A New You. A Time to Get Sober. Here’s How.

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A New Jazz Portrait

With a New Year upon us, everyone is making resolutions. Some may seem small and insignificant, such as taking the stairs at work or parking in the back of the parking lot, while others are life-changing. If you have been struggling with drugs and alcohol, you may have addiction treatment on your mind. Yet rarely does a person just decide to enter treatment and do it. Typically, it’s a long process of denial, self-doubt and second guessing. You may be at the front-end of this cycle or you may be at the end.

Admitting that you have a problem and that you need help is half the battle, but it’s only half. You need the energy and drive to make it through treatment and continue with your sober lifestyle as you re-enter the world. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly possible. People do it every day. With the right attitude, a strong support system and a will to get better, you can put the past behind you.

As you put the pieces together and start working toward a drug-free New Year, here are some things to keep in mind.

Identify Your Goals

Your main goal is to get the help you need, but this is a big goal that has a lot of bumps. Write down micro goals, or the smaller goals that will help you reach your larger ones. For instance, you need to find a detox program and treatment center. You may need to join a 12-step group. You will likely have to discontinue some friendships and forgo certain lifestyle habits. Not only should you list the goals you have, but also how much time and dedication they will take.

Create a Supportive Environment

Your support circle is one of the greatest assets you will have throughout recovery. Take the time to build your supportive circle now so that you have these people to lean on when times get rough – and they will. Reach out to friends and family who are in support of your recovery and will be pleased to hear that you’re ready to make a change.

Now is also the time to weed out friends and acquaintances that are dangerous to your health and sobriety. This won’t easy to do, but it’s necessary. You won’t want these people to be around when you leave treatment. If you have an addicted friend who you believe to be a good person, let them know that you will have room for them in your life if they choose to get sober.

Review Treatment Options

If you are a serious addict, you’re going to need more than weekly counseling sessions to get better. Luckily, there are plenty of treatment options available. The most popular include an intensive outpatient program and inpatient or residential treatment. Outpatient programs are ideal if you cannot leave your job or your family. You will live at home but attend counseling and meetings throughout the week.

Inpatient programs are designed for hardcore addicts who need to get away from their current environment and go through a rigorous detox and treatment program. You will need to leave your job, home and family for 30-90 days, but this is usually where the greatest progress occurs.

Aside from the type of program, you will also need to choose a philosophy. Some treatment centers offer alternative therapies to help with addiction. Others practice more conventional methods. One thing that we do recommended: choose a treatment program that treats your mind and body. The simple elimination of the drug is not enough to treat addiction. Addiction is a disease of the mind.

Finalize Work Plans/Pack Your Bags

As you look at the various treatment options that are available, make sure you are taking steps in the meantime to get yourself ready for treatment. Finalize plans for work, childcare, pets, etc. For more information on your rights in the workplace, visit samhsa.gov.

Also pack your bags. Pack comfortable, weather appropriate clothes and shoes. If the treatment facility has a gym and swimming pool or sauna, you’ll want to bring clothes for that, too. You can bring a cell phone and laptop, which will have restricted usage. Cigarettes are usually okay, too, but they will need to be brought in sealed packs or cartons.

Make a Decision

The final piece of the puzzle, at least for now, is making a decision. Although you may have visions of waiting months to get a spot in a treatment facility, this is typically only the case with non-private treatment centers. Private centers such as The River Source are more flexible. In fact, The RS always has beds available, so we’re able to accept addicts at any time, providing they are the right fit for our facility.

If you have insurance or qualify for financial assistance, a private treatment center is within reach. Talk to your family to see which treatment center is the right fit and start your recovery. If you find yourself making any type of excuse (I’ll wait until next week when the weather is better. Let me go out one last time and say goodbye to my friends. I just need to use one more time.), stop immediately. This is the addiction talking. It’s not what you want for your future.

Photo Credit: Andy Barton