Entering a treatment center and undergoing the process of detox for the first time can be an intimidating experience, especially if you don't know what to expect. It can help you feel more prepared for the first phase of recovery if you have a better idea of what your body will be going through and the best ways to handle certain situations that can come up.
There will be times during detox when you come close to faltering or find yourself unable to handle emotions and cravings without wanting to drink again. Detoxing is never easy but in a treatment facility it is guaranteed to be safe and effective while providing you with a good foundation to begin the next phases of managing addiction.
The First Stages of Detox
Before entering detox, the first step of the process is getting an assessment to determine your level of alcohol dependence and what type of treatment would work best for you. Anyone who experiences withdrawal symptoms whenever they don't drink will need some type of detox.
The severity of your dependence can help give the treatment center an idea of how long the detox will take and what type of medication will be necessary. You will then decide on a date to start and what treatment center you will be going to.
The first few days of abstaining from alcohol might seem difficult initially but most patients are better able to handle symptoms like anxiety and depression or any type of physical pain with the medication provided by the detox center. Alcoholics are also given vitamins like thiamine to help improve some of their health problems that developed as a result of addiction.
Throughout the detox treatment, staff will usually come in to check your blood pressure and other vital signs every four hours or so and make sure you have everything you need.
Issues to Deal with in Detox
While most of your physical and emotional pain can be minimized with the help of medication, you still might have to worry about cravings and thoughts of drinking again. With such a deeply ingrained habit you are trying to quit, you might feel bored and restless without the ability to drink.
It is a good idea to bring books and movies or any kind of activity that can work as a distraction from any thoughts about alcohol. What can be most helpful in detox is the opportunity to attend group meetings.
Many detox centers offer support groups to participate in even in the very early stages of recovery. Structured meetings can help lay the foundation of learning skills in maintaining sobriety and give you an outlet to talk about what you are going through with your peers.
This period of time can be a good chance to start building a support network that will be able to help you throughout the rest of your recovery. If you meet people that you trust and connect with in detox you can make them a part of your long term support system.
Although nurses and staff members in the detox center will do their best to make you feel as comfortable as possible there will be moments when you are full of nervous energy, are having spiraling thoughts or "climbing the walls". The important thing is to take this time to figure out the best methods to calming yourself down.
The solutions are different for everyone but you can try out different strategies and find out works best for you. It could be just reading a book or talking to the other patients in the program. When you find the best response you can use it throughout the rest of your recovery.