These steps are listed in the natural order of progression in treatment for addiction. They are not all required but are highly recommended in order to ensure a successful recovery.
Level One- Intervention
Intervention is not required. However, for many addicts treatment begins with an “intervention”. An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by family and friends to get someone to seek professional help. Professional “interventionists” specializing in drug/alcohol/addiction intervention may be hired by loved ones to intervene upon the addict’s life to coax them into treatment. Parents sometimes utilize these often forceful professionals to take the minor from their custody, even if against the minor’s will, into a drug treatment center. This event may be traumatic for the addict as they are uprooted from their life and relocated. However, traumatic events have been shown to institute life change, such as quitting drugs. Although unpleasant, intervention is often the necessary first step that can save and addict’s life.
Level Two- Detoxification
Detoxification is often the most difficult step for the addict to endure. Abstinence from his/her drug of choice or addictive behavior is required. This is the initial period of abstinence for many, meaning they have to “give it up”. Withdrawals are common during this phase and vary in severity depending on the drug. Individuals may be agitated, violent, anxious, shakiness, depressed, sickness, or even subject to death, especially without medical supervision. Withdrawals from Benzodiazepines and alcohol have proven fatal in the past. Commonly known as “detox“, this phase may be completed in a facility that facilitates detoxification exclusively or in treatment center with a detox ward. During this phase, doctors sometimes prescribe medicine to help the addict suffering withdrawal depending on the severity of the situation and the drug that they are withdrawing from. In the case of heroin detoxes, doctors may implement medicines designed with the specific purpose of helping the addicts quit using.
Level Three- Inpatient Drug/Alcohol/Addiction Recovery Treatment Center
Inpatient drug/alcohol/addiction recovery treatment centers specialize in providing medically supervised living that emphasizes sober living and drug rehabilitation treatment. These facilities have medical doctors, whereas outpatient facilities sometimes do not. Therefore they are able to provide medical care and psychiatric treatment. They also provide activities such as group therapy, individual and outdoor trips. The patients are not free to leave the facility or have visitors without approval from staff. All aspects of living are seen to by the treatment center, and the environment is highly regulated. Regular drug tests can occur and supervision of clients is constant.
Level Four- Outpatient Drug/Alcohol/Addiction Recovery Treatment
Outpatient recovery treatment is meant to provide all of the services inpatient treatment programming offers, just not as intense. Sobriety is a requirement. Drug testing is administered to enforce drug-free policies. Group or individual therapy is mandatory. The types of treatment or therapy offered include diverse modalities such as hypnotherapy, music therapy, art therapy and equine therapy. Psychiatric care is also available. This care is not residential, so living in a sober living house or unsupervised sober living is recommended. Private living is also an option.
Level Five- Sober Living Environment
These facilities are used by addicts recovering from drug/alcohol abuse, serving as an interim environment between recovery treatment and a return to normal life. These emerged out of a need to have safe, supportive place for people to live during rehabilitation. Residents are free to come and go, although they institute a curfew. Some SLE’s are operated in conjunction with recovery centers and require attendance there for outpatient treatment. They also supervise their residents and require them to submit to regular drug and alcohol tests. Failure can result in limiting that resident’s freedom or discharge from the residence/environment.
Level Six- Unsupervised Sober Living
Unsupervised sober living is the next level for some addicts who are hesitant to go back out on their own. This level allows for the client to have his own apartment, but he still has the accountability that drug testing and programming provide. Clients in this level have the option of attending therapy sessions, but are not required to do so. They have very little supervision, if any at all.
Level Seven- On Your Own
Returning to the real world after months in recovery may seem daunting, scary or even impossible. The good news is we still have help. Addiction oriented meetings are available in almost every urban area of the world. For example attending AA, NA, MA or other 12-step meetings regularly is an excellent way to stay connected with a community of addiction recovery. These meetings encourage sponsorship, so having a reliable, sober sponsor adds another element of sobriety enforcement when accountability may be limited. Staying in contact with our inpatient or outpatient addiction recovery treatment center, many that offer alumni recognition and open door policies may be encouraged. Substance abuse counseling is also available. Getting involved with your spiritual or religious group, like a church, is another excellent idea to nourish your relationship with your higher power that yours truly personally recommends.
Good luck and go with God!
By Kevin G.