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Can I Start Doing “The Steps” while I’m in Detox?

Everyone has a different experience of detox. Depending on your history of addiction, whether it has lasted months or decades, how much you use every day, etc., you may have a relatively easy time or you may be in for a rough week. The extent to which you can begin recovery largely depends on how clear your head is. While much of treatment requires a willingness to look at yourself objectively, which takes a certain level of sobriety, the 12 Steps really begin with a willingness to change. If you have committed to detox, you are probably ready to admit you have a problem and if you’re ready to admit you cannot control your drinking or drug use, you’re ready to start.

Much of treatment and recovery is about self-examination and slowly building new habits and ways of thinking. None of that is likely to happen during detox, when you might be spending days sweating, shaking, and vomiting. This would be an excellent time, though, to look at your situation and admit that you are powerless in the face of your addiction–the first of the 12 Steps. No one would choose to feel so awful. If you could have made the choice not to be in that position, you would have done it long ago.

The second step is believing that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity. Again, if you could have done it yourself, you would have by now. This step also does not require much clear thinking. It’s more about relying on the only remaining option, which is “something else.”

The third step is to turn your will and life over to God as you understand him. This is perhaps inevitable in the throes of a nasty detox. When you feel really awful, it’s almost reflexive to start bargaining, even if you aren’t religious. You just want the pain to stop. This may be the perfect time to throw up your hands, dump your behavior at the feet of a higher power and say, “Here, you sort it out.”

After that, the steps require a bit more concentrated effort and you may or may not be able to make much progress during detox. The fourth step, for example, is to “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.” This may be something you can manage and it might not. Even if you can think coherently, you might be feeling quite a bit of anxiety or depression and it might not be the best time to ruminate on every terrible thing you’ve ever done. That might be better done with a therapist or in a group, where someone else can help you keep perspective.  

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168