Almost all addiction starts off as some kind of pain management. That pain can be the emotional pain of abandonment, betrayal or loss, or it can be the pain of an un-dealt with trauma such as a death or even sexual abuse. Over time, addiction can become as much a habit as a way of dealing with pain, Any attempt to deal with the source or cause of the pain, however, generally just causes more pain in and of itself. This leads the individual struggling typically with addiction to needing the substance of their addiction even more. An obsession is much more than just a habit, but over time it becomes habitual, which contributes to the difficulty in overcoming addiction.
Overcoming addiction is, for most, a long, painful journey that is often a life-long process. This journey does not look the same for any two people, mainly because they will be dealing with very different issues. There are, however, some common steps that are widely accepted as being the most effective methodologies of treatment. While no two paths will ever be the same or involve precisely the same steps, here is the most common pathway through the addiction rehabilitation process.
Before an individual can begin dealing with the underlying causes of their addiction, they need to be free of the effects of the substance itself. In some cases, this can be a life-threatening process. Any attempts at withdrawal should always be supervised by trained medical personnel, as it can have a tremendous impact on the body and the heart in particular. At best, however, it is incredibly uncomfortable, and certain medications and techniques can help ease this process.
The next step for most is a stay in an inpatient treatment facility. There, they receive round-the-clock care and supervision. Inpatient treatment generally involves different types of therapy aimed at helping the individual identify, address, face and overcome the underlying issues requiring pain management. In many cases, getting down to the root problem or point is like peeling an onion, with each layer creating its kind of pain. In rehab, however, therapists and counselors can help individuals learn better ways of facing, addressing and dealing with the sources of their misery. In many cases, individuals may have to deal with any number of superficial issues before they get down to the very most deep root of their pain.
Sober Living House
Some people may have enough of a stable support structure to go straight from inpatient treatment back home, and some may skip inpatient treatment altogether. For many, however, a sober living house can provide a critical interim step between inpatient treatment and total independence. Individuals who jump spending time in a sober living house, however, may fare better with a more intensive outpatient treatment schedule. Individuals who are involved with other addicts or who do not have a stable support structure may benefit most from spending time in a sober living house. A sobriety house provides much of the same structure and support as an inpatient treatment facility but also offers a good deal more freedom. A sober living house can help an individual re-learn how to live without drugs or alcohol or whatever substances they previously relied on like a crutch. Sometimes, learning to live sober is like learning to walk again after an accident. A sober living house is somewhat like spending time at a rehab facility after undergoing surgery.
In some cases, individuals may get what they need from outpatient treatment alone, but it is rare. Sometimes, individuals may be in denial of the very real hold their addiction has on them and may try outpatient treatment alone thinking it will be enough. More often than not, however, if they want to get clean and sober, they will most likely need to start with detox and move to an inpatient treatment center to adequately address their addiction issues.
In addition to private therapy, many individuals can also benefit from group therapy with other individuals struggling with the same issues. In some cases, individuals may not be able to afford private treatment and so may only participate in group therapy. Unlike support groups, group therapy is guided by a trained and licensed counselor who can guide discussions and even “police” the group if necessary. This makes the discussions in group therapy somewhat more uncomfortable at times than those in support groups.
Support groups can be an effective treatment methodology for some all by themselves. Unlike group therapy, however, support groups are not presided over by trained professionals. In some cases, this can help individuals open up more than they would in the presence of a therapist, whereas in other cases, it can cause some groups to develop an unhealthy or even more dysfunctional dynamic.