To truly understand the miracle of rehabilitation, you must understand how addiction works. Whether you started using it because of peer pressure, to let off steam at the end of a hard day, to keep up with your studies, or to have a good time, the fun doesn’t last forever.
Most people have a basic understanding of physical dependence. The body quits producing natural painkillers, making everything hurt till your system rights itself. Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, and stomach cramps. You can also experience anxiety, agitation, paranoia, confusion, disorientation, and hallucinations.
These symptoms can feel overwhelming, painful, debilitating, and frightening, so most people return to their favored substance. Even the pains of addiction are better than the hell of withdrawal.
In addition to physical addiction, substance abusers develop mental dependencies. The more we use or drink, the more our brains recognize drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. You feel stressed, overwhelmed, sad, or in pain, and turn to your addiction. You use or drink, and neurotransmitters like dopamine flood your brain. It counters stress hormones and rewards you for using pleasure sensations, but it doesn’t last forever.
Every time you use it, you create neural pathways and connections, like a rut in a road. If the groove gets deep enough, the tire has trouble turning in any other direction. We program our brain, telling it the way to feel better is to use. You also train yourself that if you feel bad and resist, adding more stress will force you to take a substance. Your brain figures out how to get what it wants, just like the body gives pain signals to get what it wants.
Few people overcome the physical and mental addictions. It takes Herculean effort and a spark of hope to walk into an addiction recovery center when your mind and body fight against your desire to be healthy.
The recovery process is full of miracles:
- After the first horrible day of detox, with all its unpleasant symptoms, you decide to do it again tomorrow, hoping that things will get easier with time. Fortunately, a men’s residential drug treatment program can help mitigate these symptoms with medication.
- You connect with someone who has been where you are and can confidently say that recovery is possible for you.
- As you move forward, you can reconnect with your faith and gain strength and comfort.
- While some friends and loved ones walk away, others will stand by your side as you journey to recovery, even though it’s hard on you both. Finding true friends, both in and out of the program, is vital and effective in strengthening you against temptation.
- Drug and alcohol treatment for dads repairs family bonds. Families divided by addiction, financial losses, violence, lies, and other negative behaviors learn to forgive and reunite as the substance abuser gets clean and learns healthier coping techniques.
- You change thought patterns and beliefs to see the world and your ability to cope in a new light. You reprogram your brain to replace old neural pathways with new ones. The longer you use the new pathways, the more naturally your brain will resort to healthier behaviors.
- You learn to overcome selfishness and support your peers in recovery, picking each other up and helping each other get back on the path if they fall. Peer support is huge and continues long after you leave the treatment center through meetings and sober-supportive social groups.
- Going home sober at the end of treatment is a miracle. You are a miracle in that you have worked so hard and come so far. Many people never get to the finish line. It is a testament to your strength, faith, and love for your family and friends that you stayed and completed the program.
- Reflect on all the dangerous situations you put yourself and others in and survived. Whether driving drunk, associating with drug dealers, or because drinking alters your personality and creates unhealthy behaviors, you’re leaving the past behind you and looking forward to a brighter, healthier, and safer future.
- Every day of sobriety after rehab is a miracle. The fight doesn’t stop when you walk out of the center. As you reintroduce yourself to your old life, you may encounter situations or people that make you want to drink or use again. However, with new tools and determination, you can learn to avoid triggers and manage stress in ways that support your sobriety.
While the negative consequences of addiction are often immediate and devastating, changes for the better can be more subtle and harder to recognize. Over time, however, you gain the skill of observation. Every small success bolsters your spirit and carries you forward. These successes can help you bounce back if you stumble and strengthen you through the dark times.