Now that you’ve realized that you’re not Too Old to Get Sober, you’re at a critical juncture: making the decision to get sober. Once you recognize that your chronological age is irrelevant to your ability to get sober and stay that way, the next step is to acknowledge that you have an addiction and ask for help to overcome it. This is the most important decision before you. It won’t come easily, but you can arrive at it. Ask yourself this: Do I want to be fully cognizant of what life has to offer? Do I want to pursue goals that I’ve always wanted but never thought myself capable of or never took the time to go after? Do I want the opportunity to live the rest of my life in peace and happiness? Only you can answer those questions. And they may take some time for you to come to grips with. Let’s say that you do, indeed, decide it’s time for you to get sober. What should you do next?
- See your doctor. The best place to start, especially after years of substance abuse that may have left you with a number of physical conditions brought on or exacerbated by addiction, is with your doctor. Ask for referrals or recommendations to treatment facilities that specialize in rehab for the type of substance abuse or addiction that you have.
- Research available treatment. After visiting with your doctor, you should have at least a couple of suggestions, but there are other avenues to find appropriate treatment facilities. Go on the Internet and do a search of the vast database of treatment facilities that’s maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It’s called the Treatment Facility Locator (//dasis3.samhsa.gov/) and includes more than 11,000 addiction treatment programs, including residential treatment centers, outpatient treatment programs, and hospital inpatient programs for drug addiction and alcoholism. Listings include treatment programs for cocaine, marijuana, and heroin addiction, as well as drug and alcohol treatment programs for adolescents, adults, seniors, and special groups (those with HIV/AIDS, gays, lesbians, criminal justice populations, and more). You can also contact the toll-free 24-hour confidential Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
- Narrow down your list. Now, you’ll likely have narrowed the list down to a few treatment facilities, say two to three. Your next step is to gather as much information about each of them so that you can make an intelligent decision as to which one best serves your needs.
- Enroll in treatment. You enroll or get admitted to the treatment facility and undergo a comprehensive interview and evaluation. Then, a personalized treatment plan will be created for you and you begin the treatment process.
- Adopt a positive outlook. The best thing you can do for yourself is to keep a positive attitude going forward. Treatment isn’t always easy and there are many things you will be learning about yourself, your capabilities, and how to cope with and manage your addiction. This is what rehab is all about: giving you the tools to live your life clean and sober.
- Prepare for changes. Once you complete treatment and return home, you’ll have a few recommendations for how to begin your recovery journey. Be faithful in adhering to your 12-step group participation, getting a sponsor, and working the Twelve Steps. Keep all your appointments with your doctors and any continuing therapy sessions.
- Welcome the new you. You’re no longer the same individual that walked through the door into treatment. Over the months after you are in recovery and making progress each day, you will start to see for yourself the major changes you’ve made in the way you choose to live. This is, after all, your life. What you create for yourself in the future in terms of goals and dreams begins with what you do today.
Remember that you are never too old to get sober. Once you recognize this and take it to heart, you’ve paved the way for doing something meaningful and lasting for your life: getting help to overcome what’s been hampering you all these years.