Recovery from an addiction is a difficult journey, but not an impossible one. Establishing the first steps in recovery will set a path towards a permanent, sustainable, and healthy life, free from addiction and pain.
Whether seeking treatment for a drug, alcohol, or food addiction, counseling, treatment, and support are necessary for living an addiction free life. Most addiction rehabilitation procedures follow similar trajectories. After intake into a primary treatment program, detox, and rehabilitation follow.
However, the final step of recovery is different for each person due to its ongoing nature. Recovering addicts will find themselves without the life-saving restrictions of life in a treatment program for the first time. This is when a relapse can occur. In order to prevent that, an action plan with specific steps is vital.
A Detailed Plan of Action Can Maximize A Successful Outcome
Support systems, tools, and personal care can maximize wellness and productivity, but a specific plan of action can lead towards permanent success in post-treatment life.
Mental health professionals like doctors, counselors, and sponsors can guide the creation of this plan, as well as assisting in seeing it through. The plan serves as a dependable guide in life once treatment and detox are completed. By following it down to the last detail, recovery will have a system, practicality, and purpose for the individual. There is an only success once each person finds the right methodology and structured routine for them.
Carefully monitoring work, leisure time, activities, health, and social factors should be part of the action plan during recovery’s first steps.
How A Community Can Help
Certain social environments can be the cause of addiction and mental health illness, but the right changes in social environments can be the solution to recovery.
People often hide their behaviors, actions, or facets of their lives in order to serve their addiction. However, one of the first steps in recovery is to develop an openness to share with others. A community provides the foundation for this through therapy, communal living, peer support, sponsors, and mentors.
Research by the National Center of Biotechnology information shows that a “lack of a stable, alcohol and drug-free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence. Destructive living environments can derail recovery for even highly motivated individuals.” Support systems like therapy, sober living, recovery groups, and other types of meetings are necessary for recovery.
The rise of alcohol abuse (in addition to other mental health illnesses) in the United States is connected to the increase in private sober living residences, treatment facilities, and other recovery houses.
However, post-treatment recovery facilities (like sober living homes) have statistically high success rates. DePaul University’s Center for Community Research finds that “recovering substance abusers who live together in self-governed home settings attain a phenomenal abstinence rate of 65 to 87 percent.” This is in stark contrast to the high relapse rates that occur once clients leave their primary treatment and detoxification programs, and restart life on their own.
Typical primary alcohol treatment programs last anywhere from “30 days to about six weeks.” While treatment occurs over a short time period, the true challenge waits when they return to their regular, every day lives. So while chronic relapse rates are common, going through the recovery process with others can lead toward a higher chance of successful recovery.
For recovering alcoholics, AA meetings are a necessary step in recovery. Voicing doubts and seeking help becomes easier in regular group meetings and communal living situations. Group forums in a trusted community are a safe place for people to tackle obstacles, find guidance and shared support, and handle responsibility for their own recovery.
Additionally, organized activities like yoga, meditation, group outdoor excursions, and a focus on spirituality are often a part of community living. These activities reduce stress, provide joy, and fill time productively to help individuals embrace a new life.
Individual Steps Towards Recovery
Practicing acceptance, self-respect, honesty, and mindfulness are individual steps that can serve as an anchor for day-to-day living. Acceptance allows those recovering, to understand past mistakes while focusing on the recovery at hand. Self-respect is a necessary step in order to accept and welcome the new person that they are in recovery.
Honesty is another important step, which can help prevent relapse. Attending meetings, therapy sessions, and joining activities can bolster the skills and bravery to be forthcoming about struggles during the journey.
Mindfulness helps people focus on living in the present moment. For those in recovery, this allows people to let go of residual shame from past mistakes while focusing fully on the present process. Mindfulness also results in keeping stress levels down and renewed focus. This can help the person in recovery find balance, mental health awareness, meaningful work, and the acquisition of the right support.
Primary treatment programs often occur for a short duration, which may not be sufficient for the goal of long-term sobriety. Finding after care programs to ensure accountability is another step that clients must take toward achieving permanent recovery.
Action Today For Healthier Future
Those learning to live a life free from addiction should seek the support of mental health professionals, support groups, peers, or sponsors to voice doubts, fears, or thoughts. Self-compassion, honesty, courage, and a strong sense of purpose can help guide a person towards a successful recovery.
Active recovery and maintenance require the understanding that people will need to work on recovery for a long an undetermined amount of time. Avoiding isolation is also crucial to prevent relapse. Talking to others only has benefits. This consistent, ongoing process necessitates the support of others. Support systems are part of the larger plan of action that helps transition towards living an addiction-free life.