If you know it’s time to give up a drug or alcohol addiction and are thinking about entering treatment, congratulations; you have already taken the first step toward a new life. Getting sober is not something to be taken lightly, and anyone who thinks they are up to the challenge should first consider doing the following 5 things to ensure they are serious about getting sober.
1. Be honest with yourself. Many people are forced or coerced into rehab by caring family members, and sometimes this is the only option for getting someone help. But if you have made the decision to get help, take a minute to first review your addiction and need for treatment. Ask yourself honestly, “Do I really have a problem?” To answer yourself, remember the times you’ve disappointed loved ones, been in trouble with the law, or been encouraged by friends to cut back. Remember the feeling you have the morning after when you can’t focus on your day or anything except getting high again. If your drug or alcohol use has created problems in your life, then yes, you have a problem, and are most definitely doing the right thing by getting help.
2. Be honest with others. Now that you’ve admitted that there is a problem, it is time to come clean with others. There is still a stigma associated with drug addiction and alcoholism that makes people want to keep their addiction a secret, but coming clean with others will help in many ways. If you are planning on attending residential addiction treatment, you will need to somehow explain where you are going and when you will be back. Then, when you are working your way back into your new life, it will be easier if those around you know about it and can encourage you. Be honest about your desire for getting sober, especially with family members and close friends.
3. Expect changes. Getting sober means that everything changes in an addict’s life. Expect and prepare for these changes. Say goodbye to friends who continue to bring you back to substance abuse. Purge your entire life of drugs, alcohol, and triggers, so that when you come back after treatment, you can truly begin that new life.
4. Look forward to the future. You have so much to look forward to after treatment. Let these things motivate and keep you focused on the task at hand. You will be healthier, will have more time to spend with those you love, and will be able to take part in things that mattered to you long ago. Start thinking about how rewarding your life will be once you are sober.
5. Don’t be afraid. When you actually take the step to get sober, there will be doubts and fears. Don’t let these hinder you, though. Think of each day as a challenge, and rely on the encouragement and guidance of others (family, recovery community, support groups) to help you stay on track. If you do relapse, consider it just one more step in the journey to getting sober. Allow yourself to forget about past failures and keep moving ahead. After all, sobriety can only happen one step at a time.
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Bethany Winkel is a recovery blogger who writes about all things related to recovery from addiction, alcoholism and co-occuring dosorders.