First Step in Addiction Treatment

First Step in Addiction Treatment | Hopelinks

This type of plan is often implemented to help people through addiction treatment, and can be applied to many substances. It is sometimes used to help people overcome addiction family roles, and/or codependency.

An essential part of recovery is realizing what effect alcoholism or drug addiction has had on life. Many addiction treatment centers have clients present a first step plan as part of their rehabilitation program. AA, also includes the ‘first step’ as one of the Twelve Steps.

This presentation is written as it would be presented to a client entering an addiction treatment center to allow for clarity in communication. Hopelinks, by no means, endorses self addiction treatment.


Go back to the start of your alcohol or drug addiction history. List each drug, and alcohol individually and trace the pattern of your life. What age did you start? When did you start increasing either the quantity or frequency of each drug? This will show you if you have increased tolerance and if you have become dependent on which drugs. Something to be noted is that if you have been only addicted to marijuana, if you decide to quit the marijuana and start alcohol, there is a high probability that you will again become addicted with time. If you have a family history of alcoholism or drug addiction you may be more susceptible to dependency. Part of this is genetic and also a learned model.


Look at your physical health. List effects or any accidents, which may have been due to alcohol or drug use.

Concerned Persons

Think of comments others have made and the effect you have made on them because of your alcohol or drug addiction. Did you miss birthdays? Did you break promises? List each person personally and what effects you remember.

Irrational or Dangerous Behavior

List times you took careless actions that put yourself or others in danger. List things you would not do if not using alcohol or drugs.


Look at your sex life. Did your addiction to drugs or alcohol allow you to have sex without knowing someone? Did you take health risks such as lack of birth control or unprotected sex? Did the use of alcohol or drugs put you in danger of STD’s and Aids?


List examples of days missed, late, quitting or being fired from work. Did you get demoted, laid off or miss promotions or pay raises due to drug or alcohol use?

Social Life and Friends

How have your social activities and friends changed while using alcohol or drugs. Did you lose or drift away from drinkers or drug users? Did you become a part of a drug culture? Did you miss your partner’s or children’s activities when they wanted you to participate?


Write down all legal costs, treatment expenses, loss of work pay, and how much you spent weekly on your alcohol or drug addiction. Add the years up to determine the loss. You may find you could own a house or have a large savings with the money spent on alcohol and drugs.


Did you start looking forward to or leaving work early to get alcohol or drugs? Did you use alcohol or drugs on the way to, or during work? Did you hide your drugs so nobody could use or throw them away?


Did you make promises to cut down on either drugs or alcohol and not be able to? Did you quit after a DUI and then begin again?

(Note: This are many times when people need for help from a higher power, in attempting alcohol or drug addiction recovery, it is made more evident. You may find your self will is not enough)

Emotional and Feelings

What did alcohol anddrug use do to your feelings? List the way they affected fear, anger, love, guilt, depression, loneliness and hurt. What is the difference between when you are using alcohol or drugs and sober.

Spiritual and Character

How are you different from what you desired or planned your life to be at this age. Are you divorced, giving up on God and full of selfishness for only the addiction and you. What are your spiritual beliefs. Write them down, and if you are able, ask God to help remove your alcohol or drug addiction for things that build yourself and others up.

A good ending to the alcohol and drug recovery plan is to write a Dear John letter to the alcohol or drug addiction itself. List what alcohol, drugs, or other substances of abuse did to your life including the damage and why remaining in sobriety is essential.

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