Addiction reaches every aspect of a person’s life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It affects family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. No one is left untouched by this disease. Each month, Vertava Health breaks down one of the facets of addiction to offer insight, education, and healing. For the month of March, we will bring you articles, stories, videos and photos about detoxing from addiction and what it looks like to begin, again – free of drugs and alcohol. At Vertava Health, our mission is inform you, educate you, and provide treatment for you and your family through the darkest times of addiction. We are here to help you begin, again. We hope you will come back for information that may help save your life or the life of someone that you love. Read on, and learn more by downloading this free infographic. “He relapsed.” The only thing more terrifying than seeing your loved one slip into drug or alcohol addiction the first time around – is seeing him or her fall back into their old patterns after getting sober. Unfortunately, addiction relapse is common. According to studies, nearly half of all people who try to get sober return to heavy drinking or drug use, and even more experience a mild slip. There are several reasons for this high number. Short term treatment – 30 days isn’t enough. Studies show that the first 90 days in recovery hold the highest risk for relapse, while longer term treatment shows the highest success rates. One of the biggest glaring reasons that we see people relapse is that they detox the drug, but not the dangerous habits that go along with drug addiction. Dr. David Sack offers the analogy of turning on the water in your bathtub and leaving for the weekend, only to come home to a flooded house, warped doors and wood floors, and mold. Sure, you can shut off the water – it was the initial cause of damage – but you still have to clean up all of the other problems the water created in your house. Just like addiction – you can shut off the drugs, but you still have to clean up all of the damage they caused to your life. People relapse in their addictions every single day, and this is because they have failed to detox their entire life. What does detox have to do with it? If you’re familiar with medical detoxification, you understand that it is the process of cleansing the body of chemicals and toxins that have attached themselves to the brain and internal organs and systems due to substance use. For some, medical detox is the first step in the recovery process during which the body is cleansed of toxins leftover by drug and alcohol use. Medical detox can be the first step, but it shouldn’t be the last. Unfortunately, while medical detox may be the most physically uncomfortable step – removing the drugs or alcohol from the body is actually the easy part. Changing the dangerous behaviors and habits that compel using can be much more difficult. Detoxing those behaviors are key to preventing an addiction relapse. Your body isn’t the only thing that needs to detox; in order to reduce the risk of relapse, individuals struggling with addiction need a full life detox.
- Detox It: Your Phone
Your Cell Phone is Your Dealer. Just because you’ve sought help for your addiction, doesn’t mean everyone has. In fact, all of the people you ran with while shooting heroin are probably still shooting heroin, and the people you were doing meth with are still doing meth. Your dealer is still alive and well and he wants your money. None of these people care that you’re getting help or you’re in recovery – they want you back and they will claw, crawl, and call to get you back. Detox your stored numbers, your texts, your emails and your contacts. You may even want to remove songs that you listened to when you were using. Just like you got the chemicals out of your body, get the toxic contacts out of your technology. We recommend getting a brand new phone and changing your number. One of the fastest ways to relapse is having drugs at your fingertips – and that’s exactly what your phone allows.
- Detox It: Your Home
Home Not-So-Sweet Home. You may not have realized it when you were taking pills, doing cocaine or drinking, but you’ve amassed a great deal of debris around your house and in your car. While you were in the depths of your addiction, things like empty pill bottles, needles, bags and roaches were normal sights – but now that you’re getting the drugs out of your system, these items need to be evicted from your home because they can be triggers to use again. Call a sober, trusted friend or family member and have them help you detox your home. By cleaning out your house and car, you’re erasing the items that were part of your drug use, and allowing yourself to move forward. Go through your old jackets, drawers, purses, the glove compartment and ALL of your old hiding places – anywhere that may have remnants of the drugs. Recognize these things as toxins to your recovery and things that may cause you to relapse. Detox them from your life.
- Detox It: Your “Friends”
You Have Friends in Low Places. Remember your old friends? The ones that were shooting heroin with you or doing lines of cocaine with you? Yeah, they’re still around – and they’re still doing the same old things. And they’re going to want you back. 80% of people who try heroin for the first time try it with friends, but the majority of people who die from a heroin overdose die alone. The friends you used to run with will not think twice about leaving your overdosed body in a hotel or on the streets. They will not think twice about asking you to use with them again. They won’t care if you relapse. Sounds like really great friends, don’t you think? Detox the old friends and get out and meet new people. Try going to a twelve step meeting, church or a local community class. There are people who will love you, find you intelligent and funny, and will enjoy your friendship without the drug use – you just have to meet them.
- Detox It: Your Family
We are NOT Family. Families often develop enabling habits that can be dangerous for someone struggling with addiction. Detox them. A reputable treatment center already has family programs in place when you go to treatment. These types of family programs are designed to help improve communication, and help you develop problem-solving and coping skills within a family dynamic. And in fact, research shows that your chances of recovery are greatly enhanced when the family works together on these issues. You probably weren’t expecting this part of your detox, but some relationships can be toxic to your sobriety – and unfortunately sometimes family members fall into that category. Maybe your mother enabled your heroin addiction for years and still triggers you to use, or your brother continues to drink alcohol around you, despite your requests for him to stop. These are not healthy relationships to maintain when you are trying to get healthy. It is ok to recognize relationships that are poisonous to your recovery, and work on them and change them. Addiction is a disease that affects the entire family. By going to treatment and continuing in therapy, you will learn to detox the the hazardous behaviors that developed in your family while you were using. Detox It: Your Life You Can’t Overdose on a New Life. Relapse in addiction can often mean death. The greatest risk to a person who relapses is the threat of overdose because they have a lowered drug tolerance and they often have poor judgment in how much they should be using. It doesn’t have be this way. You don’t have to relapse. You can live the life you deserve. Clear the drugs out of your body and clear the negative behaviors and habits out of your life. Call a reputable treatment center – one that has detox on site and one that specializes in proven addiction treatment therapies like dialectical behavior therapy or adventure therapy. Detox the drugs, detox your life – so there is no threat of relapse. Remember, you can’t overdose on a new life. For more information on detoxing your life, download this free infographic.