Sometimes they think that avoiding high-risk situations is a sign of weakness. I would like to use this opportunity, having been invited to present my perspective on relapse prevention, to provide an overview of the field and document some ideas in addiction medicine that are widely accepted but have not yet worked their way into the literature. I have also included a link to a public service video on relapse prevention that contains many of the ideas in this article and that is freely available to individuals and institutions [5]. However, if they hung in there, exercising patience while continuing to be present-centered and emotionally available, the issues would clarify and they would find their way back to being in sync with the therapeutic process. You may also experience what is commonly called sobriety fatigue, which refers to the overall exhaustion that may occur as a result of the emotional and physical stress of staying sober. So, it’s extra helpful to have a support network available to you when you need it.

long term recovery from addiction

Life after addiction isn’t just possible. It’s the norm

Substance related accidents, arrests and legal trouble were cited by 22% of respondents, bringing the total percentage of negative consequence-related answers to 68%. Help and support of family, Top 5 Advantages of Staying in a Sober Living House friends and peers (including “interventions by someone”) were also cited frequently (30%). Twelve-step fellowships were mentioned by one-quarter of respondents as important to their recovery.

  • A simple test of whether a person is bending the rules is if they look for loopholes in recovery.
  • Recovery is not about perfection, it is about having the honesty and willingness to determine what shifts need to be made and recommitting—over and over again.
  • When individuals exhibit poor self-care and live in emotional relapse long enough, eventually they start to feel uncomfortable in their own skin.
  • Therapists should work with clients on keeping in mind the potential consequences of any future substance use.
  • At the very least, self-care should include sleep hygiene, good nutrition, and physical activity.
  • Clinical trials have been conducted to determine whether management of SUD, including ongoing continuing care, is feasible in primary care.

Identify Things That Contribute to Your Substance Use

However, there were no significant differences between the two groups in substance-related problems per month or in total days of abstinence. However, self-care is extremely critical when dealing with substance use. Between finding time to prioritize your mental health to encouraging different behaviors that can help you feel good about yourself, re-learning how to love and take care of yourself during your addiction recovery is the key to success.

Stay Connected to Your Recovery Community

  • Probably the most common misinterpretation of complete honesty is when individuals feel they must be honest about what is wrong with other people.
  • One of the best ways to reinforce your journey towards recovery is establishing a network of peers that can help you.
  • Research should determine the efficacy of peer supports including peer recovery support services, recovery housing, recovery chronic disease management, high school and collegiate recovery programs, and recovery community centers through rigorous, cross-site evaluations.
  • Opening up about the challenges and triumphs of recovery fosters empathy and understanding, creating a ripple effect of healing and acceptance.
  • Another goal of therapy at this stage is to help clients identify their denial.

Rather than getting twisted up because we are struggling and uncertain, if we hang in there and remain mindfully accepting, open to possibility, and patient—the mud will settle and the water (and how to best proceed) will again become clear. Although, obviously there are exceptions, people do not generally experience serious problems in living by accident or coincidence. Our choices and actions—both conscious and unconscious—contribute to the vast majority of the problems we experience, including those related to active addiction. In the same way, success is usually a result of the choices we make and the actions we take.

long term recovery from addiction

Get Involved in Support Groups

The obvious choice for me to address my alcohol problems was to consider going to Alcoholics Anonymous. But during my first meeting, I met a man who started talking to me about my father in very positive terms. Thus, meeting this man brought up bad emotions and was really the reason I didn’t keep going to AA meetings. On the other hand, the long-term institutional treatment I received afterwards became crucial for me to quit.

These changes are typically marked and promoted by acquiring healthy life resources—sometimes called “recovery capital.”14,40-42 These recovery resources include housing, education, employment, and social resources, as well as better overall health and well-being. Recovery support services have been evaluated for effectiveness and are reviewed in the following sections. For some people, committing to complete abstinence is not desirable or is too daunting a prospect before beginning treatment.

long term recovery from addiction

Relapse-prevention therapy and mind-body relaxation are commonly combined into mindfulness-based relapse prevention [30]. To understand the importance of self-care, it helps to understand why most people use drugs and alcohol. It helps to acknowledge these benefits in therapy so that individuals can understand the importance of self-care and be motivated to find healthy alternatives. Addicts must lie about getting their drug, hiding the drug, denying the consequences, and planning their next relapse. Clinical experience shows that when clients feel they cannot be completely honest, it is a sign of emotional relapse.