How to Get Sober: Your Step-by-step Guide to Finding Treatment and Staying Clean

how to get sober

For those who struggle with addiction, it can often seem like there’s no hope at all.

Being trapped in a self-destructive cycle takes its toll on the addicted individual, ruining lives and relationships for as long as the addiction continues.

There is help available for those who are wondering how to get sober.

The question is this: what steps must be taken to bring the addict or alcoholic back to their former selves? There’s a long road ahead of the afflicted individual, but read on, and we’ll show you how recovery becomes possible.

First Up: Detoxification

For those who used physically addictive drugs, the first few days present unique challenges. Heavy sedatives like alcohol and opioids cause physical withdrawal symptoms which range from uncomfortable to life-threatening depending on the person’s history.

For most people, that means a medically-assisted detoxification is in order before any further steps can be made.

For those who’ve never been addicted, it’s often a good metaphor to compare the need for an addict’s drug of choice to hunger. The person’s body begins to physically need the drug in order to function as normal.

Alcohol and benzodiazepines have the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms. There’s a serious potential for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like seizures and cardiac arrest in those with a long history of addiction.

A medically-assisted detox is the first step for most addicts on the road to recovery. The improvements to a patient’s long-term recovery are incredible.

Stabilization and management of withdrawals are key to further success for the addict.

Then Comes Inpatient

There’s a problem with detox: many patients feel better after a couple of weeks, and that can lead to relapses.

Thus, it’s recommended that a patient steps into an inpatient rehabilitation facility as soon as they exit detox. This will help enforce sobriety over the long run and is a key component of many treatment plans.

Programs range from four weeks to six months, and there are tons of options available. While all of them are different, they’ll share the following common structures:

  • A tightly scheduled environment
  • Drug education courses
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Introduction to the 12 Steps

These help to form a foundation for the individual who has lost the ability to function as a normal human being.

The key for the addict is to take everything they can get here. It can be a tedious process, but it provides a stable and safe environment to begin regaining life skills.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking of a rehab program as a cure.

The real work for the addict begins once they leave a controlled environment. Returning to the world can be frightening, and with a lack of oversight, it’s quite possible for an addict to relapse soon after exiting the facility.

There are much better options for the motivated patient than simply returning to the environment they used or drank in.

Sober Living Environments and Aftercare

Sober living environments, or SLEs, are one of the foundations of aftercare.

Think of them as sort of a rehab-lite. You’ll be able to leave and go to work, although there is generally a curfew, and will be able to generally get back to life while maintaining some of the benefits of still being in treatment.

SLE programs are often tied to outpatient aftercare programs. These are group sessions which take place regularly, usually with people who are in the same boat that you’re in.

All of this put together allows for the foundation to be further strengthened. The patient begins to learn how to function in the “real world” as opposed to the tightly controlled environments that make up the initial portions of treatment.

Combined with an aftercare program to keep up with drug education and therapy, they make an essential step towards achieving sobriety in the long term.

At this point, most patients will also work with a counselor on both relapse prevention and possibly a plan in case the worst does happen. A prolonged relapse can lead to beginning the process all over again, with the added pressure of feeling defeated.

Keeping It Up With Support Groups

Twelve Step groups often form the first real social network an addict has that’s not related to their drug of choice.

It’s strongly recommended that an individual attend regular meetings. For those who are under the dual-diagnosis classification, it’s also essential to follow up with a mental health professional and follow their treatment plan as well.

Even after leaving a sober living facility, there is a lot of work to be done.

For long lasting sobriety to be achieved, the addict will have to be mindful and use the tools given to them throughout treatment.

It’s far from a guarantee, but by following through with all of the above, the patient stands a much higher chance of maintaining their sobriety in the long term.

An addict or alcoholic is looking at a lifelong battle. These compulsive urges don’t go away overnight, and a single slip later can often lead to completely throwing away the things gained back in sobriety.

Each individual will be different, but as time goes on, it does get easier. Just don’t let that be an excuse to become complacent.

As long as you put the work in, you stand a good chance of staying clean in the long run.

Trying to Figure Out How to Get Sober?

We specialize in connecting clients with the care that they need. If you’re trying to figure out how to get sober and haven’t been able to make progress, it’s time to give a serious treatment plan a shot.

If you’re in trouble and know it, then it’s time to make a call.

Contact us and let’s see if we can’t get you started on a journey to a better self, free from addiction.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.