Recovering from substance abuse or addiction is a challenging and long-term process that requires commitment and perseverance to work. SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that about 23.1 million people ages 12 and over needed substance abuse or addiction treatment but that only 2.5 million of them, or one percent of this population, actually received any type of specialty treatment. Although most people who struggle with substance abuse or addiction don’t get the help that they need, those that do find that recovery consists of much more than just ending the abuse of or addiction to a substance. While recovery is a complex process, it is also rewarding, and can bring a lot of great things into a person’s life that she may not have been able to experience before her recovery began.
Symptoms and Negative Effects of Addiction
Substance abuse and addiction have several negative effects on a person’s life. Addiction can especially change a person’s life in several ways. The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms of drug addiction, which illustrate the effect addiction can have:
- Being unable to stop using the substance
- Engaging in dangerous activities such as driving while using the substance
- Focusing increasing amounts of time, money and energy on acquiring and using the substance
- Maintaining a continual supply of the substance, even when doing so is financially irresponsible or illegal
- Needing to use substance on a regular basis, whether daily or even multiple times a day
- Using the substance in an attempt to deal with or avoid problems
Each of these symptoms of addiction can consume a person’s life, and can make it seem like no one can help and nothing will ever change. The reality, though, is that recovery is possible, but can often only begin when the person admits that she has a problem and is willing to get professional help.
Recovery Activities that Can Bring Meaning and Happiness
Since substance abuse and addiction demand a large amount of time, money and energy, a person who has just begun the recovery process may find that she has more of these things than she knows what to do with. Seth Meyers and Katie Gilbert recommend doing five specific activities to avoid relapse and succeed in recovery:
- Find a sponsor – Support groups can be a great way for a person to find the encouragement, help and friendship she needs in recovery, and can also be a good place to find a sponsor who will mentor the person and keep him on track in recovery. A trusted friend can also serve in this position.
- Learn how to read the warning signs of relapse – The acronym HALT, which stands for “Hungry,” “Angry,” “Lonely” and “Tired” can help a person recognize the triggers that might lead them back to the substance. Avoiding these triggers can help the person continue successfully in recovery.
- Discover personal purpose – Finding purpose outside of substance abuse or addiction can be one of the most rewarding effects of recovery. This purpose can come from any activity that a person enjoys and finds meaning in, but should be healthy and beneficial.
- Have fun – Enjoying life free from addiction is one of the best parts of recovery. A person can have fun with any activity that brings them pleasure, such as dancing, painting or learning a new language.
- Work on relationships – Maintaining nurturing relationships can be difficult while a person is also struggling with substance abuse or addiction but recovery can restore these relationships in her life. It can also bring new healthy relationships into the picture, which can allow her to grow even more.
How to Get More Information about the Benefits of Recovery
Recovery demands a lot of a person, but it also brings better things into the person’s life than they had with substance abuse or addiction. It allows them to focus on beneficial things that will add meaning and happiness to their life and helps them regain control of many parts of their life that were out of control. If you or someone you care about has been considering substance abuse or addiction recovery, please call us at 615-490-9376 today. Our admissions coordinators can talk more with you about ways that recovery improves a person’s life and help you find recovery.