The Steps in Early Addiction Recovery and What Loved Ones Can Do to Help

Published On: February 8, 20234.9 min read979 wordsCategories: Addiction Treatment And Rehab

Substance use can quickly devastate a person’s life. What commonly starts as casual use can quickly spiral into a full-fledged addiction, broken relationships, financial insecurity, job loss and major health repercussions.

If you’re interested in sobriety, you know better than anyone the toll drugs or alcohol can take on your life. Finding healing may seem like a long shot, and taking the first step toward recovery can feel impossible — especially when you don’t know what that first step is.

When you’ve decided that addiction has been in control too long and it’s time to take back the power, here’s what you’ll want to know about the steps of recovery. 

The first steps in recovery

Before breaking down early recovery steps, it’s important to first clarify that the process of detox, treatment and sobriety is rarely a linear journey. While some individuals start rehab and never abuse substances again and excel in creating a sober lifestyle, for the majority of people emotional and physical relapses are common.

While there will be setbacks along the way, you do have control over the damage done. Each time you choose to overcome a challenge and recommit to treatment, you’re stronger for it and more aware of your own needs, strengths and weaknesses in recovery.

Despite rocky roads in your journey, you’re sure to find the path gets smoother with time. Get started towards life-long freedom by following these recovery steps for the first days of your new life.

1. Accept that substance use has to stop

The beginning of your journey starts with a mental shift. In this step, which could take a moment or build up over years, you have to make the mindset change from “I can keep living like this” to “I need to change my life, it’s time to get sober.”

Substance use makes daily life miserable, our goals unattainable and our bodies feel difficult to live in. The harm of addiction is often clear to others before it’s clear to us. However, the destruction of addiction becomes apparent to you, let it fuel you towards sobriety and make a commitment to get professional care.

2. Reaching out for help

The next step, which can happen immediately after the first, is to reach out for help. Whether you tell a friend, a mentor, a parent, or a spouse or directly call a substance abuse treatment center, the key to sustainable sobriety is avoiding the pitfall that you can achieve recovery totally on your own.

Getting serious about recovery means that you’ll need to partake in professional care, especially during the first days after your last use. Drug and alcohol treatment is the safest, most effective way to overcome addiction.

3. Beginning rehab

Once you’ve gotten connected with professional treatment and involved your loved ones in your goal of recovery, the next step is attending your first day of rehab. Generally, this portion of care is residential and designed to get you through the tough days of withdrawal in a medically-supervised setting.

4. Celebrating the end of the withdrawal

Detox generally lasts anywhere from a few days to two weeks, and at this point in recovery, you can celebrate a major milestone in your recovery. Ideally, you’ll only ever have to endure withdrawal once, and the worst of the physical symptoms will be over.

Applaud yourself for enduring these hard days and reflect on the strength you’ve shown.

5. Continuing services

After detox is complete, you’ll want to decide which type of recovery program to continue with to ensure you stay away from substance use. You may continue residential care, or opt for outpatient services. Depending on your flexibility, work schedule, family life and other factors, you and your care team can make a treatment plan to carry out.

6. Assessing progress

All throughout your journey you’ll find this recovery step is necessary. You’ll want to consider your goals, your treatment plan, your living situation, your triggers and so forth. Change what isn’t working and reinforce what is.

Tips for getting through the first addiction recovery steps

If you have a loved one who is taking the first steps toward recovery, it can feel like a tumultuous time. The emotional stress, indecisiveness, agony of withdrawal, anger, frustration and other obstacles your loved one is facing can all pile up and make you feel powerless to help.

While the decision to get sober and stay sober is never your responsibility to make, there are ways you can support your family member or friend in early recovery. Here are a few tips.

  • Focus on encouraging professional treatment
  • Understand the science of drug addiction and brain reward circuitry
  • Do research on relapse statistics
  • Listen without judgment
  • Take care of your own stress levels
  • Practice self-care together
  • Offer to provide or set up transportation to treatment
  • Help with basic necessities, like picking up prescriptions or grocery shopping
  • Show support during rehab with phone calls, letters or sending photos
  • Offer to assist with childcare if applicable
  • Research local treatment providers and peer support groups
  • Attend a support group for family and friends of people with addictions
  • Support medication management in line with a treatment plan
  • Affirm your loved one on progress in treatment
  • Find personal ways to celebrate small victories
  • Encourage others in your social circle to show support
  • Understand your limited role and don’t enable addictive behaviors

Remember that while your compassion and support are invaluable, you shouldn’t try to help your loved one more than he helps himself. At the end of the day, recovery will only last if it’s a personal decision.

Whether you or a loved one are seeking care for a drug or alcohol addiction, Freedom Detox can help. Find the personalized healing you’ve been looking for and make an appointment today.

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