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Choices for Addiction Recovery Support

A Practical Guide to Finding the Right Drug Addiction Recovery Program

By Brian McAlister

Are you ready for recovery? Only you can answer that question. Until you have the will to change, you’ll just be going through the motions in addiction recovery treatment. But once you realize the impact that addiction is having on your life and your relationships, and once you acknowledge that you don’t like the person you’ve become, you’re ready. You recognize that you need help and you are in enough pain to want to overcome your addiction, whether opioid or other. That doesn’t mean that the road to recovery is going to be easy. But it does mean that you’ve eliminated the first roadblock. You’re ready to move forward and make that change.

Do you know your choices for addiction recovery support? There are many addiction recovery programs, and each takes a slightly different approach to the process. Because of addiction’s complex nature, you are likely to use a combination of approaches. Following is an overview of some of the most popular.

Addiction Recovery Support Options

Detox: The first step you want to take is to clear the drug from your body, a process known as detoxification. The withdrawal process can be unpleasant and potentially life-threatening. That’s why it’s important to choose a medically managed detox, with a physician and in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Remember that detox only clears the drug; it does not combat the psychological, social or behavioral programs associated with addiction. Detox alone will not help you kick the habit, but it is a necessary first step in your journey.

Inpatient Rehabilitation: A residential treatment center provides you with 24-hour support for sober living away from outside triggers and negative influences. Programs range from 30 to 90 days or longer and include a highly structured environment, counseling and family programs, and medical advice.

Intensive Outpatient Program: This type of program may be right for those who need to accommodate work and family life. An intensive outpatient program is part time, but it includes daily interaction. Such programs typically run for a certain time frame, such as a period of 8 weeks.

Outpatient Program: A traditional outpatient program may be right for you once you have completed an intense program or if you are not at medical risk. Such programs typically include weekly sessions to help you build the skills you need for a sober lifestyle.

12-Step Meetings: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programs outline a set of principles to follow. Members attend group meetings to gain the support that they need to stay sober.

SMART Recovery: This program offers support group meetings where members can learn self-help strategies. It takes a cognitive-behavioral approach to addiction recovery.

Refuge Recovery: Based on Buddhist principles, this approach incorporates mindfulness and meditation on its path to recovery.

Sober Living Houses: Sober living residences offer safe environments that have various levels of supervision and curriculum. Residents can practice new skills, establish healthy living habits and develop a community of like-minded individuals working toward common goals.

Personal Therapy/Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist/psychologist specializing in addiction can help you change behavior patterns and develop new tools to stay sober. A psychiatrist also can help with medication-assisted therapy.

MAT (medication-assisted therapy): This approach uses medication to reduce the cravings for opioids to help in preventing relapses. Medications – such as naltrexone (Vivitrol), buprenorphine (Suboxone) or methadone – are used along with counseling and support.

 Spirituality: For those who have a spiritual relationship with a clergyman, you can touch on that extra support to help you navigate the addiction recovery journey.

Freedom 365™ Virtual Recovery System: The challenges a newly sober person faces when they’re not in a group setting – and that’s most of a day and most days of the year – are vast. That led me to develop Freedom 365, an addiction recovery strategy that is with someone 24/7. It is designed to help you move through sobriety and give you the personal insight to realign and interrupt negative thought patterns and redirect you to a more positive outcome.

Addiction Recovery Resources for Family Members: Since addiction puts families under great stress, and because their support is often needed 24/7, family therapy is a beneficial component of any addiction recovery program. In addition, Narcotics Anonymous and other groups offer resources for families who have a loved one battling addiction.

The Takeaway

 Recovery is both physical and emotional, and many recovering addicts find help spiritually as well. Finding the right addiction recovery program is key to your success. The following questions can help determine which option is right for you. You also can take our assessment at

  • What is the specific focus of the program?
  • What kind of result do I expect from this program?
  • Is the program short term or long term?
  • How much time do I have to devote to this program?
  • Is there a financial commitment?
  • Is the program licensed?
  • Does the program utilize credentialed medical staff?
  • Is the program located geographically within my region?
  • Does the program include a behavioral health/lifestyle component?
  • What combinations of programs work well with this program?

If you redirect the same single-minded focus needed for life in addiction to developing a well-rounded full recovery, you will be able to enjoy your life. With the drive to succeed and a support network, you’re well on your way.

Brian McAlister is the President and CEO of Freedom 365 Virtual Recovery System™ Full Recovery Wellness Center and best-selling author of Full Recovery: The Recovering Person’s Guide to Unleashing Your Inner Power. Sober date: August 2, 1990.

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