What Are the First Steps to Getting Help with Addiction~by Alek Sabin
When a person is struggling from any addiction, especially gambling addiction, it can be hard for them to recognize how far gone they are. Feeling hopeless from the financial pressures as well. Even if they see that they need help, understanding how to get help and the first steps towards getting it can be complicated. There are so many addiction recovery options, each with their own pros and cons.
Adding to the confusion is stress over the cost of treatment and the logistics of leaving your life behind in order to get better. I know it seems overwhelming, but once you take that first step, things will begin to fall into place. Here are some ideas of what that first step might look like, and where you can start your recovery process.
See Your Doctor
The first step on the road to recovery can be as simple seeing your family physician. And let’s not forget, Addiction is a disease, and you don’t need to be ashamed to tell your doctor that you have a problem and to ask for help. Your doctor will be able to provide you with recommendations to an addictions facility or to other addiction recovery programs.
Once the doctor gives you some referrals, the next step is to call around to the different programs and see which one you feel best about, and then get started on getting better. Just like you would go to your doctor for a referral to an oncologist if you had cancer or a diabetic who has diabetes, there are medical professionals that specialize in addiction recovery that your doctor will be able to put you in touch with.
Meet With a Rehab Center
Most addiction recovery programs will provide a free assessment to anyone who needs one. You can meet with a team of experienced addiction recovery experts who can help you to determine what the best plan for healing would be for you.
Whether a residential stay would be appropriate for you, or an outpatient program, having an assessment will give you an idea about where you’re headed. These professionals can also help to get you enrolled in a 12-step program or other programs and support groups which are completely free, and put you in touch with other resources.
If an addict is physically dependent on an illicit substance or nonsubstance like gambling addiction it is incredibly dangerous to stop using it all at once, especially on your own. There are many misconceptions about gambling addiction and a “withdraw” process, as addicted gamblers DO have and go through a “detox” period just like any other addict.
This is one harmful way that many addictions like drugs operate, by, ironically, making it unhealthy for you to stop using them. This is where detoxification programs come in. A detox program provides a safe, medically supervised space for an individual to get treatment as a substance and brain chemicals change or begin with substances, leave their body.
Most treatment centers and facilities will start you along in a 12-step program during your initial treatment, and you should continue this work with a group of your choice once your treatment program is completed. These 12-step meetings like AA, NA, and GA are a great place to gain perspective from people who understand what you’re going through so you will see your not alone. You can make new friends, gain support, and expand your support system as you continue to overcome your addiction.
Other resources that can help you to find work or a safe place to live can also be found in a 12-step group, so getting involved can really save your life. For recovering gamblers, ask your GA, (Gamblers Anonymous) trustees to schedule a “Financial Pressure Relief ” meeting with you and your spouse and go over the packet to begin your financial inventory and on the road to the accountability of the financial damages and pressure, you may be feeling.
Trustworthy Friends and Family
Recovery resources are essential, but social support and love are important parts of your life as well, so you shouldn’t neglect them. Weed out friends or family members who would hamper your recovery and learn to rely on those who are supportive of your process. Include those who love you in your recovery, and let them help you to reach your milestones.
Making new friends can be hard, but it will be one of the most rewarding parts of recovery if you can connect with safe, sober, uplifting people to share your journey with. Don’t allow the isolation of addiction to continue to have a hold on you. Branch out to others for support and enjoy the opportunities it gives you to serve and to give back.
Helping a Loved One Get Started
Sometimes the first step to recovery doesn’t come from the addict themselves, it comes through the help of those who love them. If you can see that your loved one is struggling with addiction, but they are resistant to getting help, it’s probably time to stage an intervention. Prepare yourself and other attendees well ahead of time, and have some recovery options ready to get started on right away. Check out Catherine’s Resource Page while your here.
There are also other support groups like “Celebrate Recovery” … Find one in your area with the Celebrate Recovery Locator. You’ll be well on your way to a Brand New Life within Recovery!