Are there any shortcuts to sobriety? While you can go through a medicated detox and come out the other end in sobriety, can you really be in recovery with a shortcut like that? Maybe, but probably not for long. True sobriety and real recovery take time. If you want to consider shortcuts, be informed, but also be prepared to do additional work to make sure sobriety lasts.
A controversial “quick fix” for addiction is called rapid detox, or sometimes ultrarapid detox. If you are hooked on drugs or alcohol, you know what withdrawal feels like. When you can’t get your next hit or drink fast enough because you’re sweating, shaking, nauseated and in pain, all you can think of is making it stop. Getting through detox is a major hurdle. If you can do it without relapsing, you are on the road to recovery. Facilities that provide a rapid, or medicated, detox promise to give you a painless experience. You will be put under anesthesia for the duration of the detox so that you essentially sleep through the difficulties of withdrawal. Sounds great, right? If you could only get through that part, you would be sober and would never want to use again. This belief is what makes rapid detox controversial and dangerous. Detox is not the end of treatment for any addiction. Getting sober is simply the first step. Some people see rapid detox as a shortcut. Do that and you are officially in recovery and ready to start your new life. The truth is that rapid detox is an aid, not a solution. You have to do the additional work, including therapy and support group meetings, to truly be in recovery after detox. Rapid detox by itself does not work
Research in the field of addiction has led to the development of a number of medications that can help addicts get sober and stay sober. As with rapid detox, however, these are not shortcuts to sobriety. Anyone who treats them as such is destined for failure and a relapse. While traditional addiction treatment philosophy says that recovering addicts should not be given any drugs, research shows that they can help, but only when used in conjunction with therapy, social support and other types of treatment. One important addiction drug is naltrexone. When taken regularly, it can reduce cravings for alcohol and also block the high produced by opioid drugs. Disulfram, or Antabuse, is another medication that can help alcoholics. When an alcoholic is on this drug, any amount of alcohol consumed will make her very sick. It is a deterrent to drinking. Acamprosate can also be used for alcoholics who have gone through detox. It repairs damage to the brain caused by heavy drinking. All of these medications have their weaknesses and none represents a cure or a shortcut to sobriety. They only help addicts who also engage in more traditional forms of addiction treatment. While there may be shortcuts to sobriety in a technical sense, there is no cure for addiction and therefore no quick fix. If you want to get sober and to learn how to stay sober for the rest of your life, you need to put in the time and the effort. Researchers have given us some amazing tools that can aid in the goal of getting sober. If you choose to use them, follow your doctor’s instructions and keep up with your counseling and therapy for the best results.