No two journeys toward sobriety are ever the same. Every individual deserves treatment catered to his or her unique needs and each timeline will differ. While each person’s experience in recovery is different, there are some common steps in the process.

In this article we’ll look at the six steps that can get you from addiction to recovery, from the first time you reach out for help to the end goal of a free and full life.

The steps toward recovery

1. Reaching out for help

The first step towards recovery can feel more like a giant leap. Reaching out for help means that you’ve come to terms with an addiction and recognized that you need professional services. Asking for help can be intimidating, but it’s an essential step to getting back control of your life.

You can reach out for help by sharing your struggles with a loved one or directly calling a treatment center. No matter who you talk to first, it’s important to express your need and desire for professional treatment to give you the best shot at success.

2. Detox

The first step in getting clean from substances is detoxification. In detox your body will expel toxins and get accustomed to a system without drugs or alcohol. This process can be extremely painful and even dangerous, so it’s always best to complete detox in a licensed facility.

Therapy or counseling typically begins in detox and continues through all levels of care. In most cases, individual or group counseling is the aspect of addiction recovery treatment that continues the longest.

3. Inpatient treatment

Most individuals will continue treatment in an inpatient setting immediately following detox. These programs are residential and provide a smoother transition back into society. And while detox is generally physically grueling, the next stages are more of a mental game. 

While in inpatient treatment you’ll focus on identifying triggers and learning coping skills. Learning how to accept and manage them rather than turning to drugs or alcohol is an effective means of fighting addiction. One approach to this is through acceptance and commitment therapy. Learn more about ACT here.

4. Outpatient treatment

Once you and your treatment providers agree you can return to your environment safely and without jeopardizing your recovery, you’ll start outpatient services. Intensive outpatient programs may run on a work week schedule, and other outpatient services may occur for a few hours on evenings or weekends to accommodate for work or school.

Outpatient treatment continues the education and life skills aspects that were started in inpatient services and builds on them. In groups or one-on-one you’ll work with a mental health practitioner to process triggers, emotions and events in addiction counseling. 

There will also be an emphasis on fostering a lifestyle that supports recovery, whether it be through nutrition classes or resume writing workshops. Decreasing stressors in your life can safeguard your sobriety, and outpatient programs will give you the skills you need to do so.

5. Continuing services

As the amount of time since your last use increases, the intensity of services will decrease. Slowly building up skills and distress tolerance means that you and your care team can collaborate to scale back services. You’ll still receive full support, but you’ll need less intense intervention when you’re able to cope on your own.

Continuing services typically include therapy, medication (if your team deems it necessary) and case management. Case management simply means you’ll have access to assistance with housing, education, employment, finances or childcare when you need it. Many people also elect to participate in a 12-step program for years or even decades after their last use.

6. Freedom

Finally, the step you’ve been waiting for. When you’re free from drugs and alcohol you can start living the life you’ve always wanted. You’ll be able to set and achieve goals that seemed impossible when you were enslaved by an addiction.

While freedom is surely the end goal, it’s still an active step. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and even years after your last high you will still encounter temptations to use. Ongoing treatment and continuously working on yourself can preserve your sobriety and your peace of mind.

Find your freedom with Silver Ridge Recovery

Silver Ridge Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehab center located in Asheville, North Carolina that specializes in helping midlife adults who have struggled with addiction to find peace and hope. Beautiful facilities and holistic therapies will help you feel comfortable as you embark on a journey toward freedom.