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The alcohol and drug recovery process can typically follow six steps:

  1. Realise and acknowledge that you have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs and that you need to make a change
  2. Figure out what kind of treatment is right for you: Banyan House recommends a medium term residential program, based on the Therapeutic Community Model
  3. Get support from friends, family or other 'clean/sober' people such as your GP
  4. Maintain your sobriety by controlling triggers and cravings, and participate in an aftercare program. This can be attained by attending a residential or other appropriate treatment facility
  5. Start to build a new life by engaging in sound social / occupational activities, new hobbies, volunteering and setting life goals
  6. Don't get discouraged if you relapse - make a plan to get your recovery back on track

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Step 1: Decide to Make a Change

Call (08) 8942 7400 for help finding treatment.

The first step to addiction recovery is acknowledging that you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and / or drugs and deciding that you need to make a change in your life. Maybe you can see how your addiction is creating problems in your life. Or maybe your friends or family members have told you that they are worried about you.

Regardless of why you have decided to make a change, the important thing is you are making it! You are motivated to improve your life and your health by putting an end to harmful alcohol, drug or behavioural addiction. 

Four Lifestyle Changes that can help with Recovery

Breaking habits often requires changing the way you think, as well as changing behavioural patterns that have developed over the years. Some changes you can make include:

  • Learn new strategies for stress
  • Spend time with people who do not use alcohol and / or drugs
  • Find new ways to spend your free time
  • Change the way you feel about yourself.

Step 2: Explore your treatment options

When looking for a treatment facility, keep in mind that there is no treatment that is right for everybody - it is not a 'one size fits all". 

Once you have decided to make a change, start exploring your rehab treatment and recovery options, Types of substance abuse treatments include:

  • Inpatient - this type of treatment involves living at the facility where you're receiving treatment - often referred to as residential rehabs. This allows you to focus on your recovery without distractions and removes you from environments that may have been contributing to your drug use.
  • Outpatient - this type of treatment often includes regularly scheduled addiction counselling appointments a few times a week. Other types of outpatient treatment include intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalisation. These options involve visiting a treatment center or a hospital for more formal addiction treatment, or, when needed, access to medical resources or psychiatric care.
  • Dual Diagnosis - these programs use an integrated treatment approach to help people who are struggling both with a substance use disorder and a mental and/or behavioural health challenge.

When looking for a treatment facility, keep in mind that there is no treatment that is right for everybody. You will have most success when you first educate yourself about available treatment types, and then find a treatment program that is tailored to your needs.

Other Considerations for Choosing a Treatment Program

  • Find a program that can treat other problems you have. Your treatment program should also address any underlying issues that may be contributing to your substance use - including problems with your friends and family members (relationships/parenting), your professional life (occupational) and your mental health (Dual Diagnosis)
  • Commit to it. Once you find an addiction treatment program that seems right for you, commit to it! Being committed to the process dramatically increases your chances for success.

Step 3: Find Support

  • Connect with Others in Recovery. Finding support is the third and very important step in the recovery process. Regardless of the treatment program you select, you will need help along the journey. You should talk to your friends and family members about your choice to enrol in a treatment program and ask them to support you. You might be surprised how quick those around you are to support you - and you should embrace their help, when offered. You should be proud of your decision to change your life!. Attempting to recover in hiding or isolation can make things tough - your friends and family can prove to be invaluable recovery resources.
  • Connect with 'clean/ sober' people. Sadly, in many cases, your friends or even your family members may have been contributing to your addiction - either indirectly (with enabling behaviour) or directly (with overt drug use of their own). If you've encountered the latter situation, it will also be important to build up a network of sober people. Your sober friends can help you find new social outlets, and they ill also understand what you are going through. If necessary, you may even want to consider moving into a therapeutic community (such as Banyan House), a sober house or make other sober living arrangements.

Step 4: Make the Treatment Last

Getting sober and completing a drug abuse rehabilitation program are among the first major steps in the alcohol and drug recovery process. But once you have completed a program, you will still need to work to maintain your sobriety and avoid a relapse. This is the fourth step.

Control triggers and manage cravings. A big part of maintaining your sobriety is managing cravings to use alcohol or drugs. One of the most effective ways to manage your cravings involves making a concerted effort to avoid the people, environments and scenarios that act as triggers for you. Ideally, you should take the following steps to keep your cravings under control and reduce your triggers:

  1. Distance yourself from your old rug or drinking buddies
  2. Avoid bars and clubs where drug and alcohol is prominent
  3. Be honest about your drug abuse history when talking to doctors or other healthcare providers about your health
  4. Be cautious when accepting prescription drugs from your doctor.

Participate in an Aftercare Program - which can offer continued support post-rehab and help you stay committed to recovery. These programs can include:

  1. Regular individual or group counselling
  2. Support Groups
  3. 12-Step Programs
  4. Sober living homes / transition homes

Step 5: Build a meaningful Life / Relationship without Drugs

"Do activities that you enjoy and that make you feel valid and important"

The fifth step, rebuilding a new life, can take a lot of effort, but it is a critical part of the process. Ideally, you should get involved in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel valid and important. After completing alcohol/drug use rehabilitation, many people turn to volunteering in their community while others start a new hobby or occupation / work.

Setting life goals can be an invaluable part of this step, and looking after your health is also important. When people get enough sleep, eat right and exercise, they tend to feel better and experience less stress. All of these efforts can further build on Step 4 to help prevent a relapse.

Step 6: Never Lose Hope - Don't Give Up

Many people relapse and need to return to treatment to resume their recovery. Call (08) 8942 7400 to talk to a treatment support specialist about rehab options for you or a loved one.
The sixth step of the addiction and recovery process is to forgive yourself if you have a relapse and not let it derail your previous efforts. Relapses can be frustrating, but they can also be a learning experience.

Relapses can be caused by various things. many people relapse when they are in a negative emotional state, and others relapse because they are experiencing physical discomfort. Some relapse because of social pressure.

Regardless of why you have relapsed, it is important to forgive yourself and make a plan to get back on track.

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