When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’re far from your “right” state of mind. When you’re stuck in the devastating cycle of addiction, it only gets increasingly harder to get out. You want to quit, but you don’t know how to get sober. Despite how bad your life as an addict is, it’s familiar, and everything else is terrifying. The decision about how to get sober is yours alone, but there are several approaches that work best.
Withdrawal can be excruciatingly uncomfortable, painful, and even life-threatening. If you’re addicted to alcohol, benzodiazepines, or are a long-term user of any substance, you should go to a medical detox. Detox will help you address the question of how to get sober safely and more comfortably. Medication and medical supervision are helpful, and you’ll be weaned off of drugs or alcohol. “How to get sober,” however, isn’t the same thing as “how to stay sober.” Some people can successfully quit using with just detox, but most need more.
There are many different types of rehabs for treatment of substance abuse. Rehabs will address the questions of how to get sober and how to stay sober. Rehab can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Long-term rehab programs of at least three months are the most successful. The longer you’re in rehab, the more you’ll learn about how to get sober. Rehab provides a sober living environment, frequent individual and group therapy, and medical attention as needed. Adjusting to rehab can be very overwhelming at first. It’s not uncommon for addicts to want to leave rehab in the beginning, but the negative feelings usually subside with time. Your experience at rehab will greatly depend on where you go, fellow patients, and your providers.
Twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and others also offer great support and knowledge on how to get sober. Attending AA or NA meetings can be very helpful and inspiring to addicts. You might get clean with the help of AA or NA only, or you might attend meetings to continue your treatment after you leave detox or rehab. Twelve-step programs are very successful for people who truly want to quit using. Not everyone likes the format of meetings and the 12-steps, so AA or NA might not be for everyone. It’s also worth noting that many people who were addicted to drugs go to AA and some alcoholics go to NA; addiction is the same no matter what the substance. There are also non-12-step groups.
Another option of how to get sober is outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment offers many of the same things as rehab and often includes 12-step principles or meetings. The only difference is that you aren’t living in a controlled environment as you would in rehab. Outpatient treatment is often more convenient for people who must continue working or have other obligations. If you’re not living in a supportive, drug-free environment outside of outpatient therapy, however, it can be much more challenging to maintain sobriety outside of treatment.