Sometimes it can be useful to understand denial as the acronym, “Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying.” In order for the journey of recovery to begin and for the treatment process to be successful, the patient must recognize denial and admit that their life is really a mess.
Overcome Denial and Take the Next Steps
For some, it is easy to recognize the drugs or alcohol as a problem. However, seeing the chaos around them tends to be more difficult. Without this self-reflection and acceptance, it is nearly impossible to overcome denial and sustain long-term recovery.
Once in a residential treatment setting, the patient can begin to refocus on the life skills that are vital to long-term recovery.1 Maintaining a healthy diet and eating right, along with engaging in regular exercise, is part of this growth process. Once an individual has completed their inpatient stay, it is always recommended to continue on with professional counseling in an outpatient setting. Typically, outpatient programs consist of both group and individual treatment settings, which can help to build a foundation of recovery.
Finally, there are self-help groups, which also complement the progress made in traditional treatment settings.2 The most widely known self-help groups are the 12-step fellowships Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Within these programs, an understanding or connection with spirituality and/or religion is typically developed.
One or all of the steps—from detox to a spiritual awakening—are recommended for a successful recovery process. The combination of these steps and subsequent growth throughout the entire process will assist the patient in becoming a person of self-acceptance and a productive member of the community.
There is never just one road to recovery for all individuals.3 Having an individualized treatment approach is vital for a successful long-term recovery. The goal isn’t simply to have the person stop using, but also to return to being a responsible member of the family, the workplace and society at large.
The variety of treatment options available makes it crucial that the patient be matched up with the right place, the right activities and the right treatment plan in an effort to address their specific problems and provide a path forward for their ultimate success.
Contributed by Mike Loy, Assistant Director of Needs Assessment
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