Getting clean in addiction recovery is a necessary first step. By itself, however it is not enough.
There are actually two phases of recovery and lifelong sobriety.
One of the strengths I been told I have is to take complicated issues and simplify them so they can be easily understood. I am going to try to do that for you.
In my personal and professional experience, when talking about how to live a lifetime free of drugs and alcohol and all the bad stuff that comes along with it, a simple concept was formed.
There two phases of recovery: are getting clean and living sober.
The interesting thing is that in order to achieve lifetime or long-term sobriety both phases must be mastered. Most people have success in one phase or the other for a period of time, but cannot combine the two.
Each phase of recovery has distinct educational pieces that must be learned. Both phases also have necessary skills that must be learned and practiced to the point of mastery.
Only when both pieces of the puzzle come together is there a reasonable chance a for long life abstinent of drugs and alcohol and the problems they create.
What Does Getting Clean In Drug Addiction Recovery Mean?
Getting clean means you have stopped using drugs and started to change the addict mindset.
In order to get clean certain planets have to come into alignment. Ideas have to line up in a way that make sense to the individual at the exact right moment.
As soon as the idea of getting clean gels, action should be taken immediately. otherwise a person can just as easily talk themselves out of taking the initial steps to get clean.
Getting Clean – Getting Ready
Most of the ideas shared here are so important individual posts have been written on them. Just click on the titles for more details. Here are some things a person should take a look at when they are contemplating or thinking about getting clean:
Hitting Bottom-Bad Stuff Happening – “You’re ready when you’re ready”. Chances are the addict has heard 100 different times from 100 different people variations on the theme of you need to quit, what are you doing etc. unfortunately, often times, an addict can only hear the need for change when the pain becomes too intense.
Motivation: Getting Clean From Drugs
Motivation determines what you WILL do. Ability determines if it can be done.
Motivation is essentially the energy that strengthens and moves something from an idea or a genius thought to action. Without motivation nothing gets acted on.
Any addict worth his salt has thought about getting clean hundreds or thousands of times. It is only when the motivation gets strong enough will someone make a move to take action on getting clean.
Common wisdom says that a person’s motivation must be internal. In other words the desire has to come from within you. It can’t be forced on you by outside events. You need to say inside your own head ’ enough is enough’ (and mean it). I believe in the long run the desire to sustain staying clean and living sober must come from inside.
However, in the early phase of getting clean and sober, or in the ’Getting Ready’ phase, it really doesn’t matter whether the motivation is internal or external. External motivation comes from the ouside. ‘They made me…’ It might be being forced into treatment rather than going to jail. A wife threatening divorce unless action is taken. In other words, it’s not the addict’s idea but someone else’s outside them.
In the beginning I believe that internal or external motivation is not too important. It doesn’t matter what gets a person to stop drinking or drugging. The important thing is they stop. If they stop for a little while the mind clears up and things a take on a new perspective.
A lot of times people will be “forced” into stopping using and then the motivation switches over to internal and they realize it’s a good thing and want to do it for themselves. You must practice and master the skill of maintaining motivation to get clean and live sober.
Attitude: Your attitude determines how WELL you do anything in sobriety or life.
Think about it for a second. People who love their jobs and look forward to going to work every day will probably go the extra yard, put in the extra effort and excel. People who despise their jobs and hate showing up for work generally do the minimum to get by and be miserable..
In sobriety there is no minimum to get by.
Abstinence from mood altering drugs is an absolute. Either you will do drugs or you won’t It’s one way or another. If you choose to do drugs you’re going to do them whole hog, go off the rails. If you choose not to do drugs you’re giving yourself a chance at life and avoiding the bad stuff that goes with drug use.
An important attitude for getting clean is one of determination.
It must sound something like this this: “I will get clean, stop using drugs, no matter what”. It is impossible to get clean without full commitment. Saying you’ll try to get clean doesn’t mean a thing. You’ve probably said that 1000 times before. What needs to be said is I will get clean, not I’ll try. If you “try,” to do something you’re giving yourself an escape hatch for failure.
I have been able and privileged to observe thousands of clients in rehab treatment facilities. It is always fascinating to look at attitudes while somebody is in treatment. There are some who simply won’t participate unless it’s under threat. Their attitude is “this sucks and I’m getting out of here soon as I can”. Some people do the bare minimum to get by, never open up and have the mindset of “you don’t know me, (and you never will)”. Others have developed an attitude of “I’m here, I’m going to get everything I can out of it” these people are a demand for getting answers and help.
Based on attitude alone which group of people do you think has a reasonable success at sustained long-term recovery?
The fascinating thing about attitude is that it’s entirely in your control. You, not the event, control whether something is really good or really bad.
Ability: Can I Really Stop Using Drugs And Get Clean?
Ability is what you CAN do.
After so many failures many people question if they have the actual ability to get clean and sober. Here is the short answer: Yes you can. You have the ability to never drink or drug again for the rest of your life to change the direction of your life toward a happy rewarding and fulfilling life.
Does having the ability to do something mean that it will actually occur? Of course not.
The question of ability to stop using drugs comes into play more from an aspect of overcoming hopelessness and being stock. If a person believes that they do not have the ability to do something or that it is completely impossible, there is absolutely no reason for them to try to do it. Even if they do try to get clean for the sake of family, job, or the courts they have an easy out. “See I told you I couldn’t do it, I’ve never been able to do it, but at least I tried.”
People act out of beliefs not facts. Sometimes the belief in lack of ability can be paralyzing. The deal is that it’s just not true every addict has the ability to get clean and live sober.
If you need some proof just go to a few open 12 step meetings and hear the stories, predicaments, and state of affairs of what other people have overcome to emerge successful. An AA meeting is basically proof of ability.
Taking Correct Action To Actually Get Clean From Drugs
Get Help: Lone wolves do not do well in getting clean. Although you might’ve heard of hero X stories of heroic of people getting clean on their own, professional and conventional wisdom says that you need to get help. One of the fundamental concepts in the 12 step program is I can’t do it alone, but we can do it together.
We’re going to get a little advanced here; drug addiction is now recognized as a brain disease and brain disorder. The good news is that it responds well to correct treatment. The bad news is that in order to get correct treatment a person needs to get professional help.
Ad addict trying to get clean by himself is like a doctor trying to take out his own appendix by himself. It might happen, but it could be terminal and certainly will be a mess.
A person who has crossed the line into full-blown addiction will almost certainly need help with supervised detoxification. Addiction should be treated as quickly as humanly possible.
Drug addiction is a progressive disease and as long as it runs rampant it only gets worse never better. A lot of times the earlier treatment is initiated the better the outcomes. That being said, I rapidly backpedal and say it is never too late. If you’re alive you got a chance.
When is it necessary to get help? Now- Get.Help.Now.
Get Detoxed As A Starting Point of Getting Clean
The purpose of detox is to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms of drug addiction. What does that mean exactly? Withdrawal is whatever happens when a person suddenly stops using a substance to which they’ve grown accustomed. These symptoms could include nausea, the shakes, sleeplessness, cramps, and intense cravings. T
The old-school method of stopping using drugs involved going cold turkey. This basically means suddenly stopping, toughing it out and suffering the consequences. This is where you might hear stories of people lying on the floor flopping around like a fish out of water, screaming, hallucinating etc. Suffering the sort of withdrawal symptoms is not necessary any longer.
What happens when employing medical detoxification is determined largely by what facility a person goes to.
If they go to the emergency room of a hospital, the goal for personnel there is to stabilize the patient so their life is no longer in jeopardy. They are not necessarily preparing them for treatment simply for stability and discharge.
Some less than reputable “rapid detox centers” promise a short stay miracle cure for drug addiction. Avoid these drug mills it all costs. There is no miracle cure for addiction.
In drug and alcohol treatment centers the goal of detoxification takes on a couple of other shades of meaning. While the purpose is still to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, often the patient is weaned off their drugs over a period of time.
One purpose of treatment centers is to make the patient comfortable enough so they can tolerate withdrew the withdrawal and stay in treatment. If a person’s withdrawal is too painful they can always walk out the door and go get high. Detoxification protocol is often a juggling act between winning somebody off the drugs and having having them be able tolerate the discovered that involves
Detoxification is simply the first phase in a regimen of drug and alcohol treatment. Some detoxification centers will get a person through the detox process so that they can enter in intensive outpatient treatment program. Many outpatient treatment programs cannot take somebody who is actively using or inactive withdrawal. Under some cases the withdrawal can last longer: see PAWS Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms.
Detox is not treatment! I saw a study (that I had been unable to relocate) that stated less than 1% of people who relied on a detox episode as their only treatment were sober one year later. So if you’re thinking that you’ll go to a detox get dried out and everything will be peachy keen you’re sadly mistaken.
Getting Clean - Getting Drug Addiction Treatment
Getting treatment for your drug addiction is the best investment you can make in your life.
Will drug addiction treatment work for everyone? Of course not. But the way I look at things is that there are certain things you can do to shave the odds in your favor of getting clean and living sober. There are also certain things you can do that will stack the odds against you of ever being clean.
Getting drug addiction treatment is one of those things that can shape the odds in your favor. This is important – what you get out of treatment depends upon your attitude and your ability to listen and act.
The great secret of clinical treatment professionals, rehabs and treatment centers is this:
We know what works and we know what doesn’t work and we tell you.
Unfortunately, many people can’t get past their own misconceptions or get out of their own way and take action. It’s kind of harsh and goes the grain but if you do what the professionals tell you will get clean if you try to do it on your own chances are you will not get clean.
Individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers. Will
There are different levels of intensity of drug or alcohol rehabilitation treatment. These include outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, and residential rehabs. From a clinical and professional point of view, a person would go into a drug treatment professional complete an assessment and the appropriate level of care would be matched up.
Unfortunately, in this modern day the level of care a drug addict will receive is determined on either his ability to pay or what the insurance company will pay for. From the professional or clinical point of view the antics, prejudice and unfairness of insurance companies almost knows no bounds.
In addition to stopping drug abuse, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning.
Getting Clean Living Dirty
You can’t get clean and stay clean when you’re thinking dirty and living dirty.
I wouldn’t want to complete a post on getting clean without breaking up the concept of getting clean and living dirty. The idea of thinking dirty and living dirty is simply a modern take on what old-timer twelve-step people would call the ‘Dry Drunk Syndrome’ what are we talking about? It is simply the concept of not changing old ways of thinking and old ways of acting. In other words, not changing people places and things.
Let me give you some examples of this concept. An addict supported his drug habit by shoplifting tools converting them to cash and buying drugs. Under the concept of living dirty he would continue to shop with tools and convert them to cash and use the money to avoid work. A woman might have been prostituting herself for drugs in the past. She now engages in the same behavior but refuses to do drugs. Another person is emotionally all over the place in uses drugs to chill out. They now do not do drugs but has made no effort to address emotional problems.
In all these cases a person has stop using drugs but they have not addressed the other issues. Use of drugs easily becomes linked with certain actions. These linkages are extremely tough to break. People were in treatment that often they have to give up two things it wants in order to reasonably succeed at staying clean from drugs. For instance, you just might want to think about not shoplifting anymore because with that cash in hand is guaranteed the first thought coming into a person’s head will be to go by drugs.
It is better not to put yourself in a position where you have to say no to drugs in the first place.
Highly recommended 3 books
- The Recovery Book is the easiest to read reference book on 100’s of topics on addiction recovery. I know tons of couselors who have this on their book shelf and refer to it constantly.
- The Happy Addict. The Happy Addict is the ultimate guide to achieving an amazing life after addiction. No more guilt. No more shame. No more feeling held back by the past or low self-esteem.
- The Craving Mind. This ia an Amazon Best Seller. A leading neuroscientist and pioneer in the study of mindfulness explains why addictions are so tenacious and how we can learn to conquer them.
The Recovery Book: Answers to Questions About Addiction and AlcoholismThe Happy Addict: How to be Happy in Recovery from Alcoholism or Drug AddictionThe Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked
Video On Getting Ready - The Mirror Never Lies - Song
In this blog we approach getting clean and living sober as two distinct elements are phases of living the good life free of drugs, alcohol and the negative consequences that they entail.
Elements of getting clean include:
- Getting ready to get clean, proper mindset.
- The proper attitude for getting clean and sober.
- The fact you have the ability to get clean and sober.
- We addressed the need for proper motivation to get clean and sober.
- Taking action to get clean and sober;
- Stop using drugs. This is the first action step in getting clean.
- Getting help. Most people agree chances of success increase astronomically when you get help.
- Detoxification. Medically supervised detoxification helps ease the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms.
- Obtaining the appropriate treatment. Obtaining treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is definitely an action they can be taken that will significantly increase a person’s chances of success.
Get ready, Get Set, Do Something!
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