If you or someone you know is about to enter into a rehabilitation process, you might be feeling a little nervous. The following will explore a few things you can do to help ensure you’re prepared for the stages of recovery.
The Contemplation Stage
The contemplation of recovery is a vital part of the process. This is the stage in which you think about your situation, feelings, and any negative consequences of your addiction and ponder whether you want to continue abusing a particular substance. For some, this process is quick; it involves a sudden realization that a line has been crossed and things need to change. For others, this is a long process whereby they get used to the idea that they could have a problem before they acknowledge that they do and they want to solve it. It’s not uncommon for this process to wobble a little, with some days feeling fine and other days feeling problematic.
Because this stage is so personal, it is hard to prepare for. If you have trusted loved ones, you may want to talk to them about how your behavior has been affecting them and actively listen. This can give you a little extra information and context as you think. You might also want to free journal about your substance use and see what comes up. Many people spend a lot of time suppressing or ignoring difficult thoughts, so practices like free writing can be helpful in letting these thoughts rise back to the surface. If you’re experiencing health problems or dental problems as a result of your substance use, you might also want to speak to a medical professional; they can give you further information about how your actions are affecting your body and wellbeing.
The Detoxification And Withdrawal Stage
Given the vast array of troubling substances people have access to, the detoxification process can look wildly different. It’s a good idea to do research before entering this stage so that you know what symptoms and experiences you can expect. Common withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, sleep issues, body aches, nausea, headaches, shaking, and sweating. Make sure to research how long these are expected to last, as this can be incredibly helpful; it’s a lot easier to bear discomfort if you know it’s going to be over soon.
If you think you will be unable to handle this stage while managing work or other obligations, you might want to schedule time off or arrange to have a friend or family member take care of things like your pets. If withdrawal symptoms are dangerous given your substance issue, you will want to speak to a professional during this part of the recovery process about ways to protect yourself. This might include staying at a facility or regularly visiting a facility for a check-up. Finding sources of support during this stage can radically improve your ease and comfort.
The Recovery And Treatment Stage
Openness and self-care are two vital things you want to cultivate for the recovery and treatment stage. This is often the point in the process where a person pinpoints the sources of their pain and the processes by which they ended up using a substance to address that pain. Without the substance present in your life, that pain will likely be more visible or accessible, making this a prime time for healing. Having patience with yourself and acknowledging that past you was doing the best you could with what you had will help with this process. Many people find professional therapy or counseling to be incredibly beneficial at this point.
The Active Recovery And Maintenance Stage
Once you’ve done your recovery work and have identified the needs you have that weren’t previously being met, it’s time to start addressing those needs so that you don’t feel the urge to turn to substance-based solutions in the present or in the future. You’ll also want to enter into this stage with an awareness of your triggers and how best to deal with them. The previous stage should have presented you with this information. Ongoing support like therapy or support groups is often beneficial at this stage.
The Advanced Recovery Stage
Depending on your scenario and addiction, this stage is going to look different for different people. Most benefit from some sort of check-in, either with themselves on a regular basis or with a support group. It’s easy to relax back into life and let your standards slide a little over the course of many years. Keeping yourself vigilant and ensuring that you keep meeting your own needs is important if you want to maintain your recovery for the rest of your life.
The above information should help you feel more prepared for each step in the recovery process. It’s important to note that these are not processes you need to enter into alone; there are professionals with lots of experience who actively want to help people get through these stages and build healthier, more complete lives.