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What Can I Expect in My First Step in Recovery?

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Addiction recovery can be an intimidating prospect, and even those who have recognized their need for change may still have reservations about jumping into a dedicated detox and recovery program. Overcoming these hurdles can be difficult due to the many misconceptions regarding perceived barriers. 

Although, reliable recovery programs are instrumental in an effective recovery path. Knowing what to expect can help deconstruct some of these barriers, paving the way for a practical, confident first step towards recovery and a sober future.

Recovery Isn’t All at Once

Managing expectations is essential before attending one’s first recovery program. Recovery is a long journey, and while one may be seeking to immediately cease their use of all addictive substances for a healthier, sober life, such a journey will not happen overnight.

Managing urges, cravings, changing thought patterns and behaviors, identifying stressors, and much more are all part of the process. It sounds like a lot—a myriad of significant transformations. There is no expectation for an individual to make these transformations immediately, and each person will have time and support to explore each of these concepts. There is no rushing recovery, and instead, taking recovery at one’s own pace in a safe and informed manner can be much more effective for sustained sobriety.

Expecting oneself to make all these transformations quickly can instead cause an individual to become frustrated or filled with doubt or a defeatist mentality. Instead, managing these expectations can provide the most transparent and healthy approach to one’s sober journey.

The Stages of Recovery

Recovery is divided into several stages, with individuals navigating each one as they embrace more therapeutic practices and sober coping strategies, life skills, responsibilities, and social skills.

The first step of a dedicated recovery program is detox, where an individual ceases their use of addictive substances and processes and expels the toxins still in their body. This stage of recovery can be incredibly intimidating, and there can be many difficulties during this time. The sudden cessation of addictive substances can cause an individual to go through withdrawal as the body rapidly adjusts to the absence of drugs or alcohol. 

While withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, they ease over time. Getting over this initial hurdle is one of the most challenging parts of beginning one’s journey toward sobriety. Professional detox facilities can provide the emotional, physical, and medical support to navigate this time safely, helping individuals transition to the next stage in their recovery.

Inpatient treatment is the next stage of recovery. Residential treatment involves an individual living on-site at a treatment facility, engaging with peers, and creating a comfortable, communal atmosphere to explore one’s best therapeutic practices while building on coping strategies. 

Individuals will still have access to friends and family and are not cut off from the world around them. Instead, residential is a time to explore one’s sober transformation in a curated, sober environment alongside like-minded peers and professionals.

Lastly, outpatient care is where individuals live independently but still attend group meetings, individual sessions, or other dedicated sober practices in a constructed form. This format allows those who have exercised their own best practices to live their own sober lives while still garnering the support of professionals and peers each step of the way.

Be Ready to Challenge Norms

There is a lot to address regarding addiction recovery, and an individual may not be aware of how much they may need to change to maintain their sobriety. Recovery challenges one’s use of addictive substances and how life, stress, and more impact relationships with those around them. Recovery is a transformative process, and being open to the idea of change is crucial to making the most of one’s time in a dedicated recovery program. 

The cessation of addictive substances is just part of the process. The transformation of thought patterns, stress relief practices, self-care rituals, and more are all integral to the process. Challenging and questioning one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors is a daily exercise.

While some may expect their lives to look the same simply by removing addictive substances, this is rarely the case. Before entering treatment, much of an individual’s day has been shaped around drugs or alcohol, and transforming one’s daily life is necessary. New hobbies will be adopted to fill time, and new social circles will be developed with a sober mindset. 

Recovery programs are meant to provide support and a place of belonging during this time, and there is no replacement for the educated, professional help these programs offer. Taking the first step toward sobriety is a challenging, intimidating task. Overcoming it and taking the leap is also the first exercise in accountability as individuals take their future into their control. 

Taking the first step into a treatment program is intimidating, but there are ways to make the transition to a sober, healthy program easier. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand the difficulties of taking this first dive into the unknowns of recovery and sobriety and are committed to helping you each step of the way. From detox and coping with withdrawal symptoms to residential treatment to ongoing outpatient care, we are prepared to help you through each step of the process, providing you with personalized care and education about what to expect and how we can continue to help you. The journey to a sober future is a long one, but it all begins with a single step. To learn how we can help you begin your journey to a sober future, or to speak to a staff member about your needs and goals, call (949) 426-7962.

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  • I would just like to share how Grateful I am with my experience through my addiction at this facility. I couldn’t possibly ask to be in such a “SAFE/COMFORTABLE” environment while receiving treatment for my addiction. I would just like to say Thank you sooo much to ALL the staff there from the Nurse’s to counselors and therapist all of you are a True Blessing in helping me through my journey of sobriety. I couldn’t feel more comfortable there on how they monitored my physical health and on dealing with my emotional health with there therapy sessions and groups I truly see them ALL as Family!

    Andrew N.
  • As a professional in the recovery field I have worked with many detox centers and none compare to The this one. Their staff is incredibly attentive and knowledgable regarding the needs of individuals seeking recovery from the very start. Their facility is welcoming and homey while remaining very luxe. I would recommend this facility to any loved one or friend looking to start down their journey of sobriety.

  • This place helped saved my life, and a great stepping stone to get my life on the right track. Was there first client under new management, caring staff and owners, comfortable place to get you on your feet in sobriety.

  • Great Staff. Comfortable Environment. Awesome place to Get Clean and Sober. Thank you guys for everything.


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    1909 W Carlton Pl
    Santa Ana, CA 92704


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