The Ultimate Guide to Getting Sober

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For an alcoholic or addict, there comes a time that using is no longer an option. Making the decision to get sober is a difficult one, but can also be the easiest decision at the same time, if you allow it. The most difficult of the options would be to continue using.
At the end of the road, most of us feel like we are drowning in an ocean– with no life preserver in sight. Treatment is the life preserver that you so desperately need to survive.
Whether or not the money has run out, the court intervenes, or your health is at risk, making the decision to stop using and enter treatment is life-or-death. This guide to getting sober will help you to make the most important decisions, the ones on which your life depends.

Getting Started in Sobriety


You or your loved one has decided that it is time to get sober, or clean. But, you may be wondering where to go from there. The goal is to match your treatment goal with the proper level of care. So, if you need to be medically stabilized, you would need to enter into a medical detox. If the behavior is a concern, then inpatient or outpatient treatment would be appropriate.

You probably have a thousand questions. But, first things first!

Do not attempt to stop using drugs via your own devices. It is not only dangerous, and can be potentially fatal, but rarely is an “at-home” detox effective. It is a process that should be handled by experienced professionals, at all times.

The first step is to call a reputable, trusted medical detox treatment center, like the one at the Palm Beach Institute. A medically-supervised detox center should be equipped to handle all stages of detoxification in a safe environment. Attending a detox ensures that you are giving yourself the best chance to stay sober for the long-term.

Every recovering addict and alcoholic is different. The quantities used, years of use, and frequency of use, all contribute to the length and intensity of the detox period. Some people may experience few, or no, detox symptoms. Others may experience severe detox symptoms for weeks, or months. The typical detox period is anywhere from 24 hours to 1-2 weeks.

While the detox period, and first 30 days, can be very difficult to endure, that does not mean that you will always feel crappy. Each day will get better, and you may have some days that you feel like you have been backsliding. But, as long as you do not pick up a drink or a drug, your feelings can change, since they are temporary. And, in the long run, your life will improve dramatically.

Detox is rarely the stopping point for someone seeking drug and alcohol treatment. Think of it as a stepping stone into something much greater. Once detox is completed, and the patient has become stabilized, formal drug and alcohol treatment can begin.

The Basics of Treatment


There are two options when it comes to drug and alcohol rehab. One option is inpatient treatment at a residential treatment facility, and the other is outpatient treatment at a treatment center or local program.

If you enter into an outpatient, or intensive outpatient treatment program, then you will go to your house or other domicile when the day’s sessions are over. For most people, this is not the most ideal situation, due to the fact that emotions run high in early sobriety, and, due to the fact that you may be experiencing severe family and home-life issues. Home may not be the safest place for your recovery.

There are several different levels of care when it comes to treatment. Different treatment centers offer different levels of care. Most experienced mental health and addiction professionals can provide you with an assessment to determine which level of care best meets your needs.

Levels of care:

  • detox
  • inpatient
  • residential
  • partial hospitalization
  • intensive outpatient
  • outpatient

The most ideal situation for the recovering person is to enter into an inpatient, residential treatment center, for at least 30 days. The gold standard in addiction medicine is now 90 days-6 months of inpatient treatment. Each individual patient’s needs are different and require a different course of treatment.

While in treatment, you will likely be given a treatment plan, and treatment team, of sorts. A treatment team is usually composed of therapists, doctors, and other clinical addiction professionals who serve your best interest.

Toward the end of the inpatient treatment term, the treatment team, or your individual counselor, may recommend that you either continue your care where you are, enter into an extended care facility, or discharged from the current facility, with “aftercare” instructions.

These are recommendations. Treatment center professionals cannot force you to take their recommendations and suggestions. However, their recommendations are based on years of experience and seeing what has worked for others to gain long-term sobriety.

An aftercare plan will outline where to go and what to do after treatment. Most patients who are discharged will have similar aftercare plans, but there are some who will have a totally different aftercare plan from the next patient.

The typical aftercare plan will look something like this:

  • 6-12 months in a structured sober living facility, also known as a “halfway house” or 3/4 house
  • 8 weeks of intensive outpatient programming
  • Ongoing outpatient therapy and one-on-one therapy
  • 90 meetings in 90 days (AA, NA, or whatever program you choose)
  • Following up with a psychiatric professional if needed

Which Treatment Center?

Also, when choosing a treatment center, it may be wise to either have an assessment with that establishment or visit your local mental health professional or addiction specialist to see what your needs are regarding treatment.

For instance, if you have a dual-diagnosis, like PTSD, borderline personality disorder, or an eating disorder, in addition to addiction, it is imperative that you locate a facility that can address the needs around your additional mental health issues.

Not all treatment centers are created equally. An established, experienced, and trusted treatment center that can fulfill all levels of care is the Palm Beach Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Thousands have achieved long-term sobriety by going through treatment at the Palm Beach Institute, and you can, too. Give us a call at 855-534-3574 or contact us online today.



Staff Writer

The Palm Beach Institute employs a diverse staff of writers that share a common passion for helping those who are struggling with substance abuse find the care they need. With years of experience in the substance abuse treatment industry and decades of experience in writing and research, our team of writers constantly strive to present accurate and helpful information that is easily digestible and encourages people to seek help.

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  • In this article you say “One option is inpatient treatment at a residential treatment facility, and the other is ….
    and then you say under

    “Levels of care:
    •partial hospitalization
    •intensive outpatient

    What exactly is the difference between an ‘Inpatient’ versus a ‘Residential’ treatment or facility.

  • Leave a Comment