Detox Is Not Enough
Getting sober after alcohol addiction is a great accomplishment! However, being newly sober or continuing an alcohol-free lifestyle can be very difficult for some people. Simply detoxing from alcohol is not enough! Sometimes old habits return and influence behavior or test sobriety. Others are dealing with relapsing as a recurring pattern. Either way, there are quite a few things beyond detox that help minimize the chance of relapsing.
Get Aggressive (IOP)
One helpful measure that can help manage the urge to drink is to utilize or enroll in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) after detox. An intensive outpatient program will consist of an all-inclusive schedule designed to help offer you recovery support. This can include group and individual therapy. The program will also examine skills needed to prevent relapse, ways of managing urges and yearnings, addiction and its effects on the brain and body, post-acute withdrawal syndrome, spirituality, twelve steps, and co-occurring disorders among other things.
Within Intensive Outpatient treatment, an individual will engage in group therapy. Groups can help with many different facets of life such as providing an individual with more supports and helping to develop communication and socialization skills that are not centered around alcohol. Aside from interaction–based groups, there are groups that can take an information-based approach and teach more life skills and structural information.
Another advantage to outpatient treatment is the way in which it develops an individual’s resiliency. The treatment provides both individuals and those helping them insight into how well a course of treatment works while they are dealing with their triggers. Individuals are able to accurately evaluate how well their own coping abilities are developing as they apply the skills and rely on the intense support they received during their daytime treatment. Lastly, outpatient treatment allows individuals to seek out sources of additional help and guidance directly in the community that are able to provide them with extra help in managing their recovery.
Examine Yourself & Your Lifestyle Choices
Therapy is an excellent choice to help sustain long-term sobriety. While both individual and group therapy are included in the Intensive Outpatient Program, the focus is often on day-to-day behaviors and patterns that cause alcohol consumption and consequences that stem from that consumption. Therapy outside of the program can address issues that are traumatic, complex, or longstanding. Childhood issues, longstanding triggers, emotional issues, and conscious and subconscious ideas that you may have developed throughout life are often issues that can be addressed in therapy. Exploring these topics can help to uncover the root issue of why an individual drinks, as well as help to provide healing for those wounds so that alcohol consumption becomes unnecessary.
There are many different types of therapy modalities available. A few that work very well to help with substance abuse are CBT, DBT and EMDR. CBT, or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, focuses on addressing maladaptive or destructive thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, focuses on regulating emotions and the behavior that comes from them. EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, helps to address trauma by discussing it, while also engaging the client in eye movements, taps, tones, etc., simultaneously. This particular way of therapy heals networks in the brain that process information and offers emotional regulation and behavioral regulation as well.
It is highly important to keep up with aftercare. This stage usually occurs after an Intensive Outpatient Program or Outpatient Program, or sometimes directly after detox. This includes participating in AA groups, therapy, meeting with a sponsor or support and following whatever plan was decided after treatment. These supports and plans will help to manage urges and discourage relapse. They also help you to identify old and new triggers, strengthen your self-discipline, and offer enough structure which can help ward off temptations and help to resist the lure of unsupportive individuals. The National Institute on Drug Abuses estimates that between 40% and 60% of people relapse, so aftercare absolutely is essential to success.
With proper support, attention, and effort, life can remain alcohol-free. If you are in danger of relapsing, do not hesitate to reach out immediately to your support network. There will be times of temptation and challenges to face. However, there is always somewhere to turn when things are rough. There are always people waiting to help you succeed.