When it comes to addiction recovery, there is no better time to start searching for help than the present. Addiction can be a dangerous and delicate disease that can gradually take over one’s life if not treated appropriately. While it may sound wonderful to have a quick, easy fix for addiction, in reality, recovery is a process.
According to “Recovery: The Many Paths of Wellness,” the fifth chapter of the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, United States policymakers and the healthcare system are beginning to approach addiction as a chronic disorder that can be treated with evidence-based treatments and long-term support. Despite this understanding of addiction, substance use disorder (SUD) is still stigmatized, and many people want to understand more about what recovery truly entails.
Recovery can be defined as a “process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” With the right support, even people with severe and ongoing SUD can recover their health and social functioning.
Remission from a disorder occurs when positive changes and values become a part of a voluntarily adopted style. Although complete abstinence from all drug and alcohol use is a key component of recovery, it is not the only one.
Substance Use Remission
For individuals who are fortunate enough to have the support and help needed to begin recovery, remission can be the end of a chapter as they go on to live full, healthy lives without ever going back to substance use. For others, especially those with a more severe SUD, recovery can be a non-linear, lifelong process.
As the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health also states, “[R]emission is a component of a broader change in their behavior, outlook, and identity.”
Those who have achieved a year or two of remission still risk relapse. Studies indicate that “it can take 4 to 5 more years before the risk of relapse drops below 15 percent, the level of risk that people in the general population have of developing a substance use disorder in their lifetime.”
These studies suggest a person with a severe substance use problem frequently needs continued monitoring and management throughout their lifetime to sustain recovery. Providing early re-intervention if the person relapses is also a crucial step in long-term recovery.
According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs article “Pathways to Long-Term Recovery: A Preliminary Investigation,” while there is sufficient data representing short-term addiction recovery, there is very little known about long-term recovery. When it comes to recovery, treatment gains are often short-lived, and despite multiple treatment attempts, these short-term treatment attempts can fail. Again, addiction recovery can be a lifelong process, which is why it is essential to remember that recovery requires support from family and professionals.
Recovery Support Services
SUD develops with significant alterations to one’s brain, behavior, and social functioning, which is why recovery involves changes in the same areas. Such changes can be obtained with the help of mental health resources such as treatment facilities that can provide long-term outcomes.
Inpatient treatment facilities and sober living homes can provide individuals with substance-free environments and mutual support from others experiencing similar mental health issues. Such facilities can be the ideal environment for a person dealing with SUD who requires close monitoring.
A study in “Recovery: The Many Paths of Wellness,” suggests that individuals who spent their recovery process at Oxford Houses were two times more likely to remain abstinent.
Relapse Is Not the End
Though a person may successfully get through the stages of treatment and early recovery, there is always a chance of relapsing. If there are not any changes made in the individual’s life, chances are they will resume using substances. Often, a person will relapse because of a desire to return to their old life. A simple life where individuals are not mired in the issues surrounding addiction may sound perfect to some, but avoiding the issues that led to the addiction in the first place will only increase one’s struggle in the future.
Deviating from treatment can result in relapse, but that does not mean it has to be the end of the journey or that the person has failed. The feeling of having to start over, especially when individuals may have thought everything was under control, can be daunting and emotionally excruciating. It is perfectly normal to want to give up, and relapse is not as simple as having a moment of weakness. Relapse indicates that a more effective method of treatment is needed.
Changing the narrative of your life can happen at any time. If you or a loved one is ready to take the first step toward recovery, A New Hope Recovery is here to guide you to a brighter future. Negative and intrusive thoughts regarding recovery can lead to misinformed outcomes. Our intervention model combines evidence-based motivational strategies with a family-systems approach that has been proven effective for over 90% of our clients. Using our expert clinical judgment and your specific circumstances we can successfully guide you toward an effective recovery. While getting the help a loved one may need can be difficult to obtain on your own, Licensed Master Level Clinicians are available to facilitate recovery entry and treatment. Addiction recovery is a commitment that may be tedious but can help save your life. For more information, call (407) 501-8490.