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The following steps, if followed by the patient and supported by the family and friends offer the best route to continued abstinence and a healthy and happy recovery.

1. Talk to someone.
The very first step in the process of getting drug or alcohol addiction help is to admit the problem to yourself- which, if you are reading this, you have probably done or are close to doing - congratulations! It takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage to admit to the problem of drug or alcohol addiction. The next part involves telling someone else. Talk to someone whom you trust, and who you know will be willing to support you in the difficult road to recovery that lies ahead. It may be a friend, family member, or someone else- the important part is that you get the support you need.

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2. Detox
Based on the circumstances and severity of your drug or alcohol addiction, you will next need to make a decision about your treatment options. It is a good idea to work with a medical doctor, as you may experience withdrawal symptoms in abstaining from certain drugs and the abuse of alcohol. A detox program that will provide a safe and comfortable medical detox protocol will ease the withdrawal process. With alcohol and certain prescription drugs, stopping their use without being medically supervised can be dangerous and potentially life threatening. While in detox you will receive individual and group counseling with a therapist. This is where you will treat the emotional part of your addiction.

3. Intensive Inpatient Rehabilitation
Residential treatment programs can be very effective. These programs are highly structured programs that can last from 28 days to 6 months. Inpatient rehab differs from other treatment approaches principally in their use of the community- treatment staff and those in recovery-as a key agent of change to influence the patients' attitudes and behaviors associated with their drug or alcohol abuse. While in a residential treatment program you will receive individual and group therapy. In addition to traditional therapy, treatment centers offer various specialized treatment options. The primary focus of an inpatient rehab center is on the resocialization of the person to a drug or alcohol free lifestyle. As the patient progresses the clinical treatment team will develop a continuation of care.

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Long term careThe families of a person with drug or alcohol addiction also need support. The turmoil caused by living with a loved one dealing with addiction can have physical, emotional, social and spiritual consequences. Feelings of confusion, frustration, anger or helplessness are not uncommon when trying to understand addiction. Drug abuse is a vicious cycle that actually causes changes in the brain, leading to stronger and stronger impulses; addiction is not a result of moral weakness or faulty willpower. Left uncontrolled however, it can ruin families and take over lives. There is hope. With a new understanding of addiction, families will learn that they can’t control addiction, they didn’t cause addiction, and they can’t cure addiction. Participants who take the time to learn and become aware of these aspects of addiction leave with the skills to cope with addiction and move forward into having healthy relationships.

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