It’s common for people in recovery to expect their healing process to come to a definitive end. Unfortunately, the recovery process is nothing like the movies, where everything comes full circle at the perfect time. The truth is that recovery is a long, complicated journey that can last a lifetime. If you or a loved one are beginning your recovery process, your early efforts will be dealing with going through detox. Understanding what detox is, how long it takes, and the benefits it brings are essential components to an effective recovery. Keeping yourself informed and aware is the best thing you can do to help yourself move forward on a daily basis.
Part One: Detox and Withdrawal
Detox is the first step of the recovery process for nearly everyone who seeks to overcome addiction. The goal of this stage is to wean your body and mind off of the substances you’ve become used to until they’re completely out of your system. Depending on the substance you’re overcoming, how much of it is in your system, your unique physiology, and your environment, the acute phase of detox can last from a matter of days to a week or more.
As you detox, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal. Your progress will be accompanied by uncomfortable physical and mental side effects which stem from the disruption of balance within the neurotransmitters in your brain. Withdrawal symptoms may continue to last even after substances have left your body; in some cases, secondary withdrawal symptoms can linger for months after detox. This is known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptom, and it can be managed with specific treatments and therapies as a part of your greater recovery.
Part Two: Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation
After going through detox and cleaning out your system, your next step should probably be to enter into an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient rehab entails living in a facility for the intensive portion of your treatment. During this period, you will receive 24-hour care from medical professionals, connect with therapists or counselors, and develop relationships with peers in sobriety groups. Inpatient rehab is typically suggested to those who are in serious need of consistent help in addressing major issues born of mental or medical symptoms of addiction. It’s hard to put a clear timeline on the length of rehab; it can last anywhere from a week to a year, depending on your individual situation and needs.
In contrast to the constant monitoring of inpatient rehab, outpatient programs allow for more freedom and individual flexibility. Outpatient rehab provides the benefits of all the services of the facility you attend while still allowing you to go to work or spend the nights at home. This is a lower level of care compared to inpatient treatment, and completing rehab this way will likely take you longer.
Surrounding yourself with a strong group of friends and family who will support you emotionally will play a huge part in your recovery process, no matter which option you choose. If your home life is a triggering or chaotic environment, outpatient treatment may not be the best choice for you. While it takes an average of 90 days to go through outpatient treatment, your environmental, personal, and social factors can help you through it quicker, or make it take much longer.
Part Three: Sustaining Long-Term Sobriety
Once you make it through the acute phases of detox and rehab, you may be tempted to think that you’ve got sobriety in the bag. In reality, the urge to use substances won't disappear overnight or even over a month. With hard work and dedication, however, they can decrease over time. Whether we like it or not, relapse is a part of the recovery process, so it’s important not to be too hard on yourself if it happens. If you’re worried about relapsing, reach out to a treatment professional or your support system. Relapse isn’t a sign that you’ve failed at beating addiction; it just means that something about your treatment or approach has to improve.
Every journey of recovery is unique. Some people may benefit most from receiving plenty of therapy and properly prescribed medication, and some will lean more on their support system and their peer/sponsor relationships. Although support groups don't offer the individual guidance of professional therapy, they provide a vital sense of community and social solidarity. Connecting with a group of people who are in a similar position can motivate you to work harder towards sobriety. Regardless of which methods you choose, recovery is not an overnight process, and will take consistency and determination.
Recovery is a process. Some days will be easier than others, and some days you may find yourself struggling with how long it’s taking you to move past cravings and regressions. You may have to deal with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and you may battle with relapse. To keep motivated and understand the importance of each day you move forward, it’s important to see your healing in the big picture. Your support system can help you remember how far you’ve come, and professional help can give you the extra boost you need to make your recovery a success. No matter who you are, there is help available to you. START UP RECOVERY provides a state-of-the-art sober living facility for people who want to press the reset button and redesign their lives. If you’re ready to make changes that last and take control of your future, don’t wait to reach out. Call 310-773-3809 to learn more.