Orange County Addiction Recovery
About Addiction Recovery
When discussing recovery from drug addiction or alcohol dependency, it is important to understand the difference between treatable and curable. Often the following questions are asked by those struggling to get sober, and also by their loved ones who have been living through the process with them.
Can addictions to substances be treated with success?
Yes, substance addiction is a treatable disease and there has been substantial medical research to support this in recent years. There are biological, psychological, and lifestyle components to substance abuse. When drug treatment addresses the issues and provides tools and treatments, people are able to stop using drugs. This gives them the chance to regain control over their lives, make better choices, and become productive members of society again. This is a lifelong process for addicts, it is long term and their new coping skills will need to remain a focal point for the remainder of their sober lives.
Is drug addiction curable?
This is a harder question to answer, but the truth is, not always. Because individuals recovering from addiction are managing a chronic condition that will be with them for the rest of their lives, a cure is not realistic. There are brain disturbances and behavioral effects that substance abuse causes which are often not reversible. The goal becomes treatment instead of cure. Many addicts successfully regain control of their lives following drug addiction treatment and go on to live successful lives outside rehab.
There is a reality about drug addiction recovery that is important for every addict, and their families, to understand:
Recovery from drug addiction does not start when using stops.
The truth is that true recovery begins when addicts begin creating a new life outside their previous circles of influence. One cannot expect to bring unhealthy habits and friendships into the recovery process and have lasting success. While it is true that not every situation and relationship can be avoided, many destructive triggers can be cut off.
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First, for successful recovery, you must recognize situations that pose a high risk to your recovery and work to eliminate them. As you progress through therapy for recovery, you will hear the acronym HALT and learn more about each component.
Avoid these high-risk situations:
As you walk through your recovery, it is important to recognize triggers and find ways to keep them from derailing your progress. Ask yourself questions and think about the answers. Are you hungry because you didn’t plan your meals adequately? Was there something that happened during your day that you’ve brought home with you and allowed to make you angry? Have you made an effort to reach out to your support groups, or have you chosen to be alone? Do you need to restructure your daily routine so you do not end the day too tired to make wise choices?
These are all important questions for you to be pondering and dealing with immediately. Part of successful recovery is dealing with issues that have contributed to the addiction in the past. Steer clear of situations with people who have enabled or allowed your using in the past. Avoid revisiting old hangouts, and get rid of objects that allow you to revisit your using. These are very high risk and can set you back, and likely cause relapse.
Focus On Life Skills Learned During Treatment
Second, you need to focus on the life skills you learned while in your drug treatment program. These coping skills will allow you to keep control over your impulses and negative thoughts or behaviors that have contributed to your drug addiction. You have learned healthier ways to deal with stress, keeping you more open to continuing to change past behaviors. Whether it is adhering to a strict exercise and eating plan, or keeping a tight work schedule that allows for little unused free time, find and keep healthy habits going.
Many just like you have had great success with behavioral and psychological therapies through their treatment and recovery process. Leaning on treatment counselors can make a big difference as depression can be a lingering struggle. Whatever steps you feel you need to take to keep your recovery successful, explore them and seek help when you feel overwhelmed. You have worked hard to build a positive and supportive recovery network, it is time to lean on it.
True Recovery Requires Total Transparency.
Lastly, it is important that you are honest with yourself and your support group about how you are doing. Drug addiction requires lying, and most recovering addicts struggle to learn to live their lives above board. True recovery from addictions requires complete transparency and total honesty. To have a real chance to affect change in your life long term, your entire support system needs to know what you are walking through each day.
Many recovering addicts make the mistake of focusing on the truth about the people in their lives that contributed to their addiction. This is backward thinking, and will not bring true healing. For you to have recovery, you need to focus 100% of your emotional, physical, and psychological energy on yourself and your own missteps. This is often a very difficult step for addicts, as many have developed highly honed lying skills throughout their time as users.
Seeking Recovery Help Through Support Groups
Most of us are familiar with 12-step programs, having heard about them through various television shows or movie portrayals. The reality is that support groups and 12-step programs are statistically proven to increase your chance of recovery. Every reputable Southern California recovery center requires clients to take part in group therapy, making them an integral part of a well-rounded recovery plan. Both addicts and their family members use 12-step programs in countries all around the world.
There are many addiction recovery groups, but two of the most well known are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The success stories that you have heard about are true. Many thousands of recovering alcoholics and drug abusers have enjoyed relapse-free recovery while involved in these programs. Not everyone attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous has been through inpatient rehab, but you will find that many have.
Another approach to group support comes from Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART). This system relies on both support meetings and online support groups to facilitate individual recovery. SMART encourages learning to embrace empowerment and put practical life skills to use to derail any potential high-risk situations. Part of the SMART model is allowing each individual to determine appropriate alcohol consumption or drug use level that is acceptable. While this may work for some, it gives freedom that most drug addicts in recovery could and should not engage.
Therapy in Recovery to Overcome Addiction
Specially trained addiction recovery therapists help people like yourself who are striving to overcome addiction and return to healthy, fulfilling lifestyles. Once drug treatment has resulted in sobriety, therapists can begin working to introduce skills. These new skills will allow you to regain emotional and physical health while working to uncover the reason for the addiction in the first place. Treatment can take time, depending on your underlying causes and the length of your addiction. Willingness to work with your therapist will be central to your recovery success.
This often begins by simply setting short and long-term goals. Some of these goals might be dealing with guilt and shame of addiction, accepting responsibility for all actions, and rebuilding relationships damaged because of using. There are several different therapies that are commonly used in conjunction with each other, increasing the likely hood of long-term recovery. Experiential therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and motivational enhancement therapies are often used in Southern California recovery centers.
Experiential Therapy is actually not one type of psychotherapy, but refers to different therapeutic techniques that allow for a therapist to see underlying contributing factors. Some of these issues are unconscious, such as repressed emotions from past traumas or poor problem solving skills that feed into relationship failures. There are often many facets to drug and alcohol addiction, and many of them can contribute to relapse if not properly addressed and worked through. This type of therapy can help you gain insight and develop better self-awareness.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps individuals struggling to overcome the negative thinking and destructive behaviors that often accompany substance abuse recovery. Researched based, this type of therapy is shown to be very effective for helping clinicians break down patterns that lead to self-mutilation and self-destruction
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) focuses on counseling, helping individuals deal with any lingering ambivalence that hinders or could prevent successful recovery. Motivation is key to strengthening resolved and building solid plans for change. Often, this type of therapy includes support group members in the planning and discussions.
How Complementary and Alternative Medicine can aid Recovery
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is usually separated into two distinct categories; natural products and mind & body practices. Complementary medicine is always used in conjunction with traditional therapies and recovery support groups. While there is significant research supporting the addition of CAM, any additional supplements and practices should be pre-screened by your recovery center.
Natural Products include any food and supplements that are derived from nature and taken by you. The following would all be considered CAM products:
- Special Diets/Dietary Restrictions
Mind and body practices would include any activities or treatments that remain outside the traditional western medicine approach. These are holistic, centering activities that promote relaxation, cleansing and centering of mind and body. Some of the more popular would include:
- Chiropractic/Osteopathic Manipulation.
- Massage therapy
- Relaxation techniques
- Tai Chi/Qu Gong
- Healing Touch
- Movement Therapies
- Music and Art Therapies
- Deep breathing
- Guided imagery
- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
- Tai Chi
- Healing touch
- Movement therapies
- Music and expressive arts therapy
Access to Experienced Addiction Recovery Counselors
Many times clients inquire about our therapists and how they intend to help them. Some of this comes out of fear as most addicts have never had exposure to any sort of therapy before arriving at inpatient rehab centers. We have several types of therapists on staff, all specializing in different areas, keeping our program well rounded.
Psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and other licensed professionals all provide different recovery therapies that our clients require while in our recovery network. When working with addicts, we often find that there are areas where treatment overlaps. Because our staff works hard to provide comprehensive drug treatment, we are able to cover all the bases, so to speak.
Why Transitional Housing is Important for Addiction Recovery
There is a common misunderstanding regarding the importance of sober living following inpatient rehab. Many of our client’s families have the idea that the drug treatment and inpatient rehab services are enough, and that their loved ones will quickly return home. We also encounter users that come for alcohol recovery programs thinking that a few weeks of sober living will be enough. Unfortunately, this is often to the case.
Through the weeks of intensive therapies, our counselors work with clients, helping them trust the process and make long-term plans. Once individuals come to terms with the reality of their substance abuse, the real recovery can begin. Sober living and transitional houses allow recovering alcoholics and drug abusers to isolate themselves and cement healthy lifestyle changes necessary for success once they are ready to transition home.
There are several types of transitional housing options available for our clients following drug treatment. The first would be a Sober Living facility. This is usually more flexible than other choices, allowing housing and extended care services, all while allowing for clients to begin reentering the workforce and rebuild healthy social circles. Halfway houses are more popular with clients who are struggling with more severe emotional and psychological treatment issues.