When you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, the natural reaction is to seek answers. There’s a great deal of misinformation on the internet regarding how long it will take an individual to recover and whether they can achieve a successful recovery at all. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long it will take to recover from their addiction, and so, in this article, we will go through the steps of recovering from addiction and how long it can take when every box is checked on the path to sobriety.
It’s important to understand what addiction is and how you can help yourself or someone you love who’s addicted. Addiction is when someone has a compulsive behaviour that they cannot control despite its adverse effects on their life. People become addicted for many reasons, such as being unable to cope with stress or escaping reality. Signs of addiction include things like stealing money to buy drugs and depleting mental health, but there are other signs as well, such as:
- Neglecting responsibilities in favour of using drugs or alcohol.
- Being unable to stop using even though there are negative consequences from doing so (such as losing their jobs).
- Using more of the substance to get the same feeling—is known as tolerance. This often leads to an overdose.
The behavioural patterns above depict what happens when someone becomes addicted. They may need help quitting because recovery isn’t easy. Usually, there is help everywhere you turn, from several rehab centres across the UK–where professionals are ready to help–to your family unit and support groups to motivate you.
There are lots of people needing help to fight drug and alcohol addiction. For people without the resources to undergo the recovery process, the NHS offers free outpatient care services. However, individuals are often required to register and join a waiting list before they are attended to.
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Steps for recovering from addiction
Recovering from addiction is a process that involves making significant life changes, and it can take time to see results. Many treatment options exist for people addicted to alcohol or drugs, including inpatient, outpatient, and support groups. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends 12-step programmes lasting 90 days as one of the most effective ways to recover from addiction. The steps below are a place to start, but they are not the only ones individuals with substance abuse need to take. These steps will guide them through essential parts of recovery and help put them on track for long-term success:
Step 1: Recognise and admit you have a problem
This is the first step to recovery and is often the most difficult. If you are in denial about your addiction, it may be hard to recognise when you’re engaging in addictive behaviours or to admit they are a problem. After recognising the problem then, you set goals for recovery. Setting goals is an essential part of recovery because it helps keep you focused on what is important and helps you stay motivated during difficult times.
Step 2: Detoxing
The second step in recovery from addiction is detoxing. This is the process of removing the toxins from your body that were created by abusing drugs or alcohol. A drug detox or alcohol detox is a pivotal stage of recovery from addiction, and while it does not signify complete recovery, it is an important step towards it. Detoxing is often accompanied by withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In addition, many people suffering from an addiction feel depressed and anxious during detoxification. It is important to know that the time it takes to detox from different substances can vary greatly. For example, the time it takes to get sober from heroin is different from the time it takes to get sober from alcohol. In general, most people can expect to undergo a detox programme for 1-2 weeks before being medically stable enough to move on with their rehab programme.
Step 3: Getting professional help
Individuals can recover from addiction with the right support, resources, and tools. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help. Here are some ways to get professional help:
Residential treatment: Inpatient facilities that provide detoxification services such as ours, provide counselling and behavioural therapy to address addiction.
Inpatient treatment is very intense and takes longer than the outpatient option. Rehab programmes can be 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days, depending on professional opinion.
Outpatient programmes: A form of professional care that allows people with substance use disorders to receive treatment services at an outpatient clinic. The average time for outpatient care is 90 days, but it might be shorter with commitment and a stable home environment. Individuals with stressful home environments are reportedly more prone to relapse and longer recovery.
Step 4: Join a support group
Support groups are valuable resources for people trying to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. A support group can help individuals find new ways of handling stress that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol. It also gives them an outlet for sharing experiences with others who have been in similar situations. Joining a support group also shortens the recovery time significantly. Estranged individuals are more likely to relapse over and over.
Step 5: Adjust your lifestyle
Adjusting your lifestyle means changing the way you live so that it promotes healthier habits and behaviours. This includes removing anything around the home or workplace that reminds you of drugs or alcohol. It also includes eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and avoiding stressful situations.
The First Year of Recovery
The first year of recovery is a time for addicted individuals to learn new ways to cope with the new drug-free lifestyle and allow the body to recover from what it has been through. During this time, individuals with addiction learn how to quit drugs or alcohol and not relapse. But they also learn that a relapse is not the end of the road. This means learning to forgive yourself and not give up. It is often difficult, but once this initial roadblock is cleared, it becomes easier to continue making life changes that can help keep them on the path toward long-term sobriety.
It is also important to consider the family unit’s role in this. Family members play a large part in whether or not someone with an addiction is able to overcome it. Family members can help by providing support, love, and encouragement throughout the recovery process. They can also help to keep their loved ones accountable for his/her actions and behaviour, as well as encourage them to seek out treatment if they choose not to do so on their own.
Long Term Recovery: Maintaining sobriety through continuing care
Long-term recovery involves maintaining sobriety through continuing care. Continuing care is an individualised programme of treatment and support that helps people maintain their sobriety after rehab treatment ends. Continuing care aims to prevent relapse by offering ongoing support and monitoring so those suffering from an addiction don’t fall into old habits when they return home from rehab or other treatment programmes.
What Factors Affect the Recovery Speed?
Many factors can affect the speed of recovery. It is important to understand these factors to assess the possible recovery time.
- Type of addiction: Some forms of addiction are easier to give up than others; for example, heroin addiction takes longer to overcome than nicotine addiction (smoking cigarettes).
- Motivation: If the individual isn’t motivated enough to get better, or if they’re not being honest about the need for treatment, it will take longer to achieve sobriety.
- Support system: A strong social network, especially from family, can make all the difference in successful recovery because positive influences are more likely to help them get sober on time and remain so.
What Matters in the End
Addiction recovery is a process that takes time, commitment, and hard work. Addiction recovery is lifelong, but initial recovery can take months or even years. It is important to note that recovery is not linear. It is a process of self-discovery, and it doesn’t happen overnight. In addition, remember that every individual is different in terms of recovery. However, the route to sobriety remains abstinence and commitment.
What matters is that each individual is committed to change by putting in place life-style changes that will support those decisions.