How To Get Sober–And Stay Sober–This New Year

If you have a chemical dependency problem, you have probably attempted to get clean and sober any number of times. With relapse rates for drug and alcohol treatment ranging from 50-90%, you are genuinely facing a difficult problem. However, the problem is not insurmountable, to which millions of recovering addicts and alcoholics can attest. With a new year approaching and resolve for a new attempt at sobriety running high, how can you get--and stay--clean this year once and for all?

Quality treatment facility

The first step to permanent sobriety is entering rehab at a quality treatment facility. When evaluating which facility to choose for your inpatient stay, consider the following:

  • Is the facility accredited by a national organization such as Joint Commission, National Committee for Quality Assurance, the All-States, or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities? These organizations set high standards for drug/alcohol rehab programs.

  • Does the facility employ licensed professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, chemical dependency counselors, registered nurses, and occupational therapists?

  • Is the facility in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?

Multifaceted treatment plan

The next step to successful sobriety is a multifaceted treatment plan. Such a plan focuses on several different life areas, all of which contribute to your addiction. Rather than simply promoting abstinence from drugs/alcohol, a comprehensive treatment plan will address why you use/drink and how to heal in those areas of your mind and body. An example of such a plan includes

  • oversight of your treatment by a psychiatrist (the "head" of the treatment team)

  • individual therapy with a psychologist or other licensed therapist

  • group therapy to address personal problems common to addicts/alcoholics

  • recovery education

  • relapse prevention

  • nutritional counseling

  • occupational therapy

  • AA/NA meetings

All of these components work together to help you work through personal problems, learn how recovery works and how to avoid using drugs/alcohol again, and gain new skills for a healthy and satisfying life.

Thorough aftercare planning

The third step in long term sobriety is planning for life beyond rehab. Aftercare planning should start shortly after your admission to the treatment program, in order to establish resources for you to walk right into upon discharge. Usually, aftercare planning is done in conjunction with a social worker, who has extensive knowledge of community support systems integral to remaining clean and sober.

Your aftercare plan should include, at the very least, individual therapy and AA/NA meetings close to your home and job. When you leave the rehab facility you should have a "map" for your first month that gives you a safety net of meetings and appointments to support your new sobriety.

Close accountability

The final step to achieving permanent sobriety is close accountability with one or more people. Rather than family members, your accountability partners should be those who haven't enabled your using/drinking in the past. One person to establish accountability with is your AA/NA sponsor; this is someone who has an extended period of sobriety and is willing to take you under his/her wings and walk you through the 12 Step program.

You might also choose a trusted friend (someone who will not cover for you, but rather confront you firmly). Give your accountability partners a copy of your aftercare plan and tell them what new actions for which you want them to hold you responsible.

As you can see, there are several factors involved in becoming clean and sober for the rest of your life. The key to success is the encompassing nature of your rehab experience and aftercare plans. Surrounding yourself with highly professional inpatient care and firm post-treatment accountability will help you to take your sobriety back into your life and make it work. Click this link for more info.