You just can't stop drinking. You want to quit, but you don’t know how to get sober. What does that even mean??
I remember the physical symptoms of my alcoholism very well. The shakes and the cramps and the headaches. More painful than the physical was the emotional and spiritual pain. Dealing with alcoholism is terrifying. You know you can't drink like this forever, but you don't know how to stop. The decision about how to get sober is yours, but there are several approaches that work best.
If you are ready you can get sober. At first the idea of never drinking again is very overwhelming, but you can do it. I promise!
There are many steps that you can take to help you get sober once and for all. The path to sobriety isn't an easy one, but these steps can help you get on the right track so that you can work toward your goal of quitting drinking for good.
A Medically Supervised Detox
The first step is to detox! This is very important. In moments of sudden ambition I would get super motivated and want to be sober all at once. I planned to complete detox and treatment all in the same day, and go about my merry way. Alcohol withdrawal doesn't work like that. Withdrawal from any drug is uncomfortable, but alcohol withdrawal is particularly dangerous.
Medication and medical supervision are helpful, and you’ll be weaned off of drugs or alcohol. A professional clinic will help with a few things.
- You will be able to rest. Take it from me, a good nights sleep is hard to come by when dealing with alcoholism. These few days of rest are a big deal.
- You will become hydrated. Alcoholics are almost always de-hydrated. Hydration will bring back your complexion, help with the headaches and clean out your system.
- You will get vitamins and nutrients back in your body. Again, almost all alcoholics are malnourished and your body is starving for real food. I have seen people gain 10 pounds in a week from regular eating habits in detox.
- Medically supervised detox. I don't say this as a scare tactic, alcohol withdrawal needs to be taken seriously. It can lead to seizures, convulsions and death.
- Professionals will monitor you. You will be given the proper medication to regulate blood pressure you will have your vitals checked regularly, and you will be given a place to feel safe and relax as best you can.
Ok - so you made it through detox. This is only just the beginning. For people who are serious about getting their life together, I always recommend an inpatient treatment program.
Getting Sober Through Treatment Rehabs
Most alcoholics need treatment. There are cases in which people were able to stop on their own, but those examples are few and far between. It is scary to leave your family and friends and comfort of your home to go to treatment, but for me, the thought of living the alcoholic life was even scarier.
In the end, treatment should be a positive experience for everyone who is willing to listen.
Another positive benefit to seeking treatment at a facility when trying to get sober is the fact that you don't have to worry about being tempted to drink. Chances are you have alcohol in your home or that you can get it relatively easily from a nearby store, but this isn't the case in a treatment center. By seeking rehab, you can start the healing process before you are put into a situation in which you can get your hands on alcohol.
Lastly, treatment can provide you with counseling and sessions that can help prepare you for a life without alcohol. It can be difficult to find people who understand how you feel or your need to get sober in the outside world, but you will be surrounded by caring individuals who know exactly what you are going through. You can seek counseling to figure out any underlying issues that you might be suffering from and you can learn life skills in treatment that will help you once you check out and head back into the world.
Till this day, I still keep in touch with my counselor in treatment. I learned a lot from the experience and overall it was a positive experience for me. Treatment may not seem like a great time while in the moment, but if you stay open minded and are willing to accept help you can learn a lot about yourself.
For just about anyone who is suffering from an alcohol addiction, treatment is a great first step. It can help you learn how to get sober in a controlled and safe environment and it can help prepare you for the next steps on your journey to beating your addiction.
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.
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 your perspective, 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. 12 step fellowships provide love and support to someone who may be feeling alone. This alone can work wonders for someones self esteem and emotional well being.
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. There are also non-12-step groups.
Alcoholics Anonymous has helped countless individuals to stay sober, and it can help you as well. Alcoholics Anonymous is dedicated to helping people understand their addictions and how to move past them and you can get the love, encouragement, support and tools that you need through this program.
For me, the biggest advantage I got from my time in AA meetings was the relationships I formed. I was able to find people I related to and spend time chatting with them, learning about them and finding common ground that I could relate to them on. I learned that I am not as alone and unique as I thought I was.
AA could teach you how to help receive help. In turn you can teach and help others.This continuous system of love and support gives purpose and meaning to millions of recovered alcoholics around the world.
AA is a revolutionary program that is designed to change your way of thinking and put you in touch with a higher power that can give you hope. It is a very practical program and is a bit misunderstood. Many people see AA as being an overly God oriented program. The fact is that AA has very democratic beliefs and each person can decide for themselves what to believe in. The ultimate purpose and thinking is to go through the 12 steps, find fellowship and build a community around you for support, and to help other alcoholics.
Another option available to help you get sober is outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment offers many of the same things as inpatient 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. It can be much more challenging to maintain sobriety outside of treatment.
Essentially, outpatient is the next step down from inpatient and many times the program is accustomed to building life skills. Some benefits of outpatient include...
- Building life skills. Many outpatient centers will help with skills like resume building, interview skills, money management and help you with daily responsibilities such as grocery shopping and communication.
- Continuing one on one care. It isn't uncommon for outpatient facilities to be more suited to give more personal counseling.
- Continuous work on recovery and learning coping mechanisms to deal with real world issues without turning to the drink.
- You can make friends. You will find that you have more in common with the other clients then you realized. Many long term relationships can be formed in this bonding experience.
Other Ways to Get Sober
Treatment and Alcoholics Anonymous work very well together for many people, but there are some individuals who learn how to become sober through other methods. Therefore, it is a good idea to look into all of your options so that you can choose the right one for you.
For example, some people finally get tired of drinking for one reason or another and make the necessary changes in their lives on their own. Something could go wrong in a person's life because of alcohol and it could be the push that he or she needs to move on. I've seen it happen before. If you are feeling determined to quit on your own, just remember the benefits of a healthy detox period.
Holistic methods are also successful for many people who want to stay sober. Through these methods, many individuals take natural remedies, participate in prayer or meditation and enjoy counseling and sessions with others who are trying to quit drinking. There are even treatment centers out there that focus on holistic healing.
Many alcoholics also turn to religion when they become ready to quit drinking. Meetings with preachers, priests and church members can help and many find that religious-based counseling.
Some even find that switching out bad habits with better ones can help; for example, these individuals often take up exercising to take their minds off of alcohol when they get in the mood for a drink.
Every person and every addiction is different, so there isn't necessarily a one-size-fits-all type of treatment for alcoholism. If you are ready to stop drinking it is essential that you ask for help and look for a method that will work for you. Regardless of the path that you choose to take, you should consider talking to an addiction counselor about your options.