The journey to freedom can be a rocky one for anyone who has become addicted to a substance. Each unique journey has its own twists, turns, and rocky areas but they all include the same steps.
The personal journey from addiction to freedom is influenced through biological, psychological, and social factors, which can include gender, age, the abused substance, past drug use, and even family history.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, although addiction cannot be cured completely, it can be successfully treated. Research has led to the development of interventions that prove that evidence-based interventions do help addicts stop using and resume their lives in a productive way.
Be Aware of Addiction
The first step in recovery is the awareness of a problem and a realization that something needs to change. Many times, this awareness comes from a conversation or intervention from their friends, family, or co-workers but it can also occur due to an addiction related financial, health, legal, or work problems.
The addict will still be engaging in their addictive behaviors and it is not a very large step in the progress toward recovery but it is still a very important stepping-stone in the journey to addiction freedom.
This step can lead to acknowledgement, which is where the action is truly needed in order to make the alteration from denial to a desire to change.
From Awareness to Action
In the second step toward recovery, the addict will be ready to take the first real step toward recovery. The addict is most likely to research more about their addiction to find out what impact it is having on not only their own lives, but also the lives of their loved ones.
This stage is very important because it allows the addict to take a hard look beyond themselves to the lives of their friends, colleagues, and family to see the negative impact their behavior has on them.
At this point, addicts still have not made any active motions toward recovery but they are gaining very invaluable information and insight that will inspire and motivate them to begin their journey toward recovery.
Action toward Recovery
With the motivation to change their lives and the insight on the impact their choices had had on their loved ones, the addict is ready to make small steps toward seeking professional help.
For example, the addict may begin to explore the ideas of moderation and abstinence. Many claim that this is where the journey toward recovery genuinely begins. During this phase, addicts will explore what it means to live a sober life and what the necessary steps to complete the recovery process.
It is possible that they will discuss personal experiences with those closest to them to explore treatment options. This stage is often seen as the turning point in the journey toward freedom from addiction, as many addicts in this stage make the important decision to enter a recovery center with the proper treatment program for their situation.
The Recovery Begins
In the early stages of recovery, there are positives and negatives that create significant greats and risks. On a positive note, the addicts in recovery will stop using the substance that caused the addiction and begin to learn coping mechanisms to remain drug-free in their lives.
The downside for addicts is the vulnerability that is associated with leaving their friends, activities, and actions in order to embrace the foundation of their drug-free lives.
According to the White House, effective treatment programs help people to counter the powerfully disrupting effects on the brain and their behavior while lessening the burden that substance has on society.
During early recovery, relapse is not only possible but also common and can be damaging to the recovery process for those who have not developed the necessary coping skills yet to keep them from reverting to their addiction.
In this stage, the addict will learn healthier habits, rebuild their relationships with their loved ones, and learn new coping skills to keep them from falling back into their addiction.
The Maintenance of Recovery
Addicts in this stage can celebrate their sobriety through the progress they have made to this point. The fight is far from over but the worst part has been worked through and the recovering addict is reminded that he/she will need to work hard for the rest of their lives to remain sober.
This means that the individual must be conscious of their behaviors and thoughts with their continued practice of their newly acquired skills through support systems and alertness to what triggers and tempts them to use their substance.
By now, the addict has finally reached the lives they had hoped to achieve, and can maintain it by creating a schedule, keep up regular appointments, and going to support groups, if necessary.
The personal journey from addiction to freedom can be treacherous but the outcome is worth the fight. When an addict moves from awareness and acknowledgment to consideration of their loved ones and recovery, their unique experience can lead them to a substance-free life that is healthy and prosperous.