It wasn't too long ago that folks only had one place to go to try to get sober, and that was the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA started saving lives in 1935. Before that time, drunks were thrown in the slammer, left on the streets to lie in their own puke, or died prematurely from liver failure.
Today, at a stone's throw, you can find a wide array of addiction professionals, inpatient rehabs, outpatient drug and alcohol facilities, group therapy, and sober living houses. Not only that, you can go online to sites such www.intherooms.com and become part of 12-step meetings for every addiction, as well as Alanon for the codependent, 24 hours a day. The amazing news is that we've gone from having only one option for recovery to multiple options in just an 80-year time span. And that you have the power to choose between all the options. The bad news is that getting clean and sober can feel just as complicated, confusing, and expensive. So, what's a person to do?
Here is the strategy that I give my patients to use: Start with the simplest and least expensive option. For most people, that means going to a local meeting of AA, or whichever 12-step program matches their addiction: Alanon, Codependents Anonymous, or Adult Children of Alcoholics.
If after going to 30 meetings, you find yourself still unable to get the relief you are seeking, it's time to take the next step. Go to your health insurance website and look up a local mental health or addiction professional who has studied and knows the landscape of treating issues of addiction and codependency.
Simply put, finding a good therapist is a little like vetting a potential friend. Make an appointment and find out: Is he or she smart? Funny? Sympathetic? Do you feel comfortable in his or her presence? If you feel he or she understands you, is a good listener, gives good advice, and is warm and kind, then keep making appointments. If not, keep moving and contact the next professional on the list. Do not stop until you've found someone you really want to work with.
If after you've tried 12-step meetings and having been talking with a good therapist, but you still need more support, consider a more intense measure. You might be surprised how many outpatient programs exist in your area that can set you up on a schedule that allows you to continue going to work while participating in a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, 12-step meetings, and so on.
Don't be ashamed to ask a human resource person at work or your general doctor for a good recommendation because sometimes finding the best place for you can be a little tricky. Do not be discouraged, though. With a little effort and a lot of willingness, you will land exactly where you will get the help you need.
Remember that you are the boss of your own path to recovery. If you feel good with the people who are here to help you, then stay close to them. If you don't, be on your merry way and keep on interviewing until you land.
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