The popular TV show Intervention has made much of the importance of entering detox, especially for individuals whose relationship with drugs or alcohol has persisted over years. Willpower alone is, for most people, not enough to overcome a long-term, daily habit, particularly when the person is still heavily influenced by the substance. In some cases, family and friends step in, but refusing rehab and therapy is still a very real possibility. From Amy Winehouse to The Office, pop culture gives us plenty of examples of refusing rehab for substance abuse. But for all of the negative examples Hollywood gives us, there are still a few situations in which celebrities willingly check themselves into detox or rehab. David Arquette has done so recently, with the notable love support of his estranged wife, Courtney Cox.
There are two phases involved in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse. The value of a therapist or counselor only comes into play once the person is sober and can play an active role in the healing process. So the first phase of recovery is to clear the fog of that particular and get sober. This can be done at an in-patient rehabilitation center or at a hospital, depending on the nature of the addiction. Withdrawal can be physically dangerous, so it’s essential to have trained medical professionals overseeing the process.
Once a person is sober, the second phase is to work on maintaining that sobriety. This phase is, of course, far more tedious and complicated. It can’t be done to you or for you, and it requires hard work, persistence, and honesty–with the self as well as others. However, it’s not a journey that’s taken alone. There are therapists and counselors who specialize specifically in substance abuse, many of whom have been addicted themselves. The recovery process is both challenging and rewarding, especially when an emphasis is placed on the individual’s ability to make positive choices and then enjoy the benefits of doing so. And just as substance abuse is about more than just that substance, therapy is about more than daily choices as well. A person recovering from addiction can work through any number of past personal issues with the support and guidance of a trained therapist who understands. Recovery isn’t easy, but it is certainly possible. There are hundreds and thousands of examples of this possibility, and there’s no reason you or your loved one can’t become yet another.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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