Baby Steps: How To Start Your Recovery
Finally, you’ve found the desire to choose recovery. You’ve made a decision that you need to get sober and stay sober. Well, you made a decision that you’ll try and get sober. Ok, someone told you that you drink too much and party too hard. You got a DUI. Your boss told you to clean up your act or you’re fired. Your spouse said to stop drinking or get kicked out of the house. Whatever happened, or why you’re reading this doesn’t matter— what matters is you’re reaching out for help. You’re looking and investigating your options.
All these options, all these programs, all these steps and traditions, methods and madness, it’s overwhelming. And with all these choices, it’s easier to make a poor decision. What are you supposed to do?
Where to Start in Recovery
First, keep it simple. Get done today what you can get done today. If all you can do is research treatment centers or find out who takes your insurance, do that. If all you can do is hang on, then just hang on. If all you can do is reach out for help, do that, call us we’ll walk you through it.
Getting sober and staying sober may involve a lot of stuff and a lot of activities. It sounds very complicated. Talking to people about getting sober can sound like you’re running a triathlon. But, all you have to do is the step you’re on. Right now, you’re probably on step zero, drinking and drugging.
Go to detox and fix that. There’s not much progress you can make while you’re still pounding Four Locos and smoking crack. Go to a safe, comfortable detox center and get off of drugs and alcohol without medical complications. There’s no sense in having a seizure at home during withdrawal. Withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can be dangerous and sometimes deadly without proper medical supervision.
The next step after detox will be residential inpatient treatment. Generally, that will last two to four weeks. At this point, some of the real work is done. We can find out what the real issues are and why you use, why you drink. You can uncover and understand your core issues and learn to deal with them. You’ll break down barriers to get well. You’ll start to understand why you used in the past and how to improve your future. How to live sober. How to truly recover. You’ll learn to relate to the how and why of your addiction and well as others. How your addiction has affected your life and how it affected your friends and family. More importantly, you’ll start on your journey to learn how to stay sober long term.
At this point, it’s highly suggested that you do an aftercare, outpatient program, and sober living. Many people at this point will join a support group and/or 12step group and the confusion over the steps begins!
You’ll hear you have to do step one perfectly, do the steps or die, do the steps quickly, do them slowly, whatever step you were on you have to do them over with me, your therapists may even want you to do step work with them. The thing is: you’ll get a lot of misinformation, bad information and conflicting information. So, keep it simple.
If you’re in AA, do the steps in the AA Big Book with an AA sponsor. The AA book, 12 Steps and Twelve Traditions can also be helpful with this. If you’re in NA, do the steps with an NA sponsor with the NA Step Working Guide and the NA Basic Text. If you’re in another program of recovery, do those steps and work that program, you get the point. Both groups will have beginners’ meetings, and step study meetings. Most beginners’ meetings focus on the first three steps, while step study meetings focus on all the steps.
Whatever you do, do not concern yourself or focus on any other step besides the step you are on. The steps are in order on purpose, so just because you can do step 7 while you’re still on step 3 doesn’t mean you should. As steps 4, 5, and 6 prepare you to do step 7 properly. You’ll have a greater understanding of sobriety and recovery with every step. And what you learned on the last step prepares you for the next.
Remember it’s baby steps, progress every day, consistent progress over time that is the gold standard of recovery. Recovery is not a race; you’ll get no extra points for finishing first. And when you win, when you stay successfully sober, we all win.
If you or a loved one is struggling from an addiction, please reach out to us at 877-RECOVERY or 877-732-6837. Our admissions coordinators are available to answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.