When it comes to recovery from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors, it’s never too early to get started. But many for many people seeking recovery for the first time, it’s hard to know where to begin. Questions like, “should I start with meetings?” or “do I need to go to detox?” or “how do I find a rehab that works for me?” are common for those new to recovery. These questions can be overwhelming and confusing, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
In this 3-part series, we’ll explain the differences between detox, rehab, intensive outpatient programs, recovery fellowships, sober living, and more to give newcomers and their families a basic roadmap for addressing and defeating addiction safely. This information in these posts is not a definitive blueprint for recovery. Rather, these suggestions are simply meant to help the people who are looking for help. Every person’s addiction is different, and no recovery is one-size-fits-all. This series is simply meant to be a loose guide to ease confusion and give people who are struggling a game plan to get started.
Getting Help: You Don’t Have To Do It Alone
No matter what substance or behavior is causing problems in your life, it pays to get help. The most beneficial component of a healthy recovery is talking to someone (or a group of someones) who have experienced addiction and recovery. Every person who has conquered their addiction and found long-term recovery has a story, and every story is different. Talking to people with experience in addiction and recovery can have an illuminating effect on your own recovery, and may open your eyes to new coping mechanisms, recovery philosophies, and techniques for staying sober one day at a time.
Another benefit of talking (and listening) to people with experience in recovery is that they understand what you’re going through. The feeling of relief that comes from talking about feelings, thoughts, and experiences in addiction without feeling judged or shamed is without parallel. In many recovery fellowships, it is well known that when all else fails, talking to someone who has struggled in addiction and triumphed in recovery has unmatched therapeutic effects.
Recovery Fellowships: 12-Step and Beyond
Many people suggest finding a local recovery fellowship meeting (such as a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous). Fellowship meetings are the most recognizable and accessible way to get information about addiction and recovery. Going to a meeting is free, easy, and doesn’t require any commitment. You can go to a meeting just to check things out, hear what other people in recovery are going through, meet some other people who have had success with recovery, and learn more about addiction and recovery in general.
While 12-step meetings are the most recognizable recovery fellowship, 12-step is not the only game in town. There are many different recovery fellowships, and many different styles of meetings within those fellowships. No matter your substance of choice or your background, there is a meeting out there that will work for you. Whether it’s religion-based, agnostic, moderation management, SMART Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery, or any other style of meeting, keep searching for the one that works for you.
Case Managers: Insight, Information, Experience
For reliable information about addiction and recovery, and professional help making decisions about intervention, detox, rehab, sober living, aftercare, and more, look to the experience and wisdom of a case manager. Case managers work directly with clients to help them determine the best way to approach their own individual recovery. Because case managers are recovery industry professionals, they offer unique insight into current practices and alternative therapies, programs, and addiction specialists available, and they’re the best resource for guidance when it comes to choosing the detox, rehab, outpatient care, or sober living that’s right for you.
Sober Coaches: Motivation, Support, Guidance
If you’re looking for a more personal approach to early recovery, a sober coach can help. Sober coaches (also called recovery coaches) provide support, motivation, and guidance to clients who are struggling with daily sobriety. A sober coach is like a life coach, but with specific expertise in sobriety and recovery. In addition to providing motivation and guidance for daily recovery, sober coaches help their clients develop a game plan for getting their life back on track. Sober coaches can help clients develop find the recovery meetings and fellowship that’s right for them, learn healthy exercise and eating habits, improve spiritual well being, work on relationship issues, learn new self-care habits, or anything that may help facilitate a healthy, happy, sober lifestyle.
When it comes to recovery from addiction, you never have to do it alone. For every person struggling to find the path to sobriety, there are people who want to help. Whether it’s a case manager, sober coach, therapist, counselor, or just the person sitting next to you at a recovery meeting, you are not alone. With the support of a sober community and a little hard work, recovery from addiction is possible. You can do it, we can help.
— For Avenues New York, 2018
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and would like more information about addiction recovery services such as intervention, case management, sober coaching, clinical referrals, sober living, or aftercare, please contact Avenues New York.
If you or a loved one is having a substance-related medical emergency, please dial 911 and seek the help of a medical professional.