Recovering from substance abuse or addiction is a complex and long process. Although some people believe that recovery means simply ending the substance abuse or addiction, the reality is that it includes a lot of steps, time and commitment. Going through the recovery process can be challenging but figuring out how to balance work, recovery maintenance and personal enjoyments can make a person more likely to succeed in this process long-term. A person who wants to find balance in his recovery lifestyle should follow the five steps listed below.
1. Receive Proper Treatment in Rehabilitation
Before long-term recovery can even begin, many people need to go through a drug rehabilitation program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists the following components of any effective drug treatment program, stating that it should:
- View addiction as a treatable disease of the brain
- Customize treatment to meet the individual needs of each patient, including any medical, psychological or social problems he is dealing with
- Be easily accessible
- Last an adequate length of time, which is usually a minimum of three months
- Incorporate therapy as a foundational form of treatment and include medicinal therapy as needed
- Alter treatment plans when needed
- Include detoxification if necessary
Some rehabilitation programs, such as residential ones, demand a lot of time from their patients. Since even outpatient rehabilitation can be time-consuming, it’s important for the person going through the program to figure out how to balance rehab with the rest of his life. Creating a schedule to manage his personal life during this process is one way patients can achieve this balance.
2. Understand that Relapse Doesn’t Equal Failure
Many people don’t realize how common relapse is during the recovery process. But the NIDA explains that drug addiction has relapse rates similar to other chronic diseases, such as asthma or heart disease. Between 40 and 60 percent of all people recovering from drug addiction will experience relapse, and it’s important to keep this in mind to avoid discouragement. Balancing relapse with continued recovery can only occur if the person understands that relapse doesn’t have to be the end of recovery. Instead, it can be a great opportunity to re-evaluate treatment and management plans and revise them as needed.
3. Recognize the End of the Substance Abuse or Addiction
Struggling with substance abuse or addiction can be a major part of a person’s life for many years. When it ends, it can be difficult for the person to find new balance in his life. One way to begin recovering a balanced life is to grieve the loss of the abuse or addiction. David Sack describes how a person should go through the stages of grieving in order to move beyond substance abuse or addiction. He also suggests working through J. William Worden’s “tasks of mourning” to begin the healing process. These tasks include:
- Accept the reality of the loss
- Work through the pain instead of avoiding it
- Adjust to the new and substance-free environment
- Turn energy away from the loss of abuse or addiction and toward a healthy and productive activity
4. Engage in Healthy Activities
One of the best ways to find balance in recovery is for the person to return to or begin a healthy activity that he loves. The person can devote the time he once spent on a substance on something that will help him create meaning in his life. Some examples of healthy activities include:
- Taking part in a club
- Discovering favorite movies or television shows
- Repairing or renovating objects, such as furniture or vehicles
5. Be Surrounded by Support and Encouragement
Finding balance can be even easier when the person has support from his loved ones. His friends and family members who encourage his sobriety can be an especially valuable source of encouragement. Additionally, he may make new friends in rehabilitation and support groups and these people can also provide him with the stability he needs to succeed in long-term recovery.
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If you or someone you care about is considering treatment options to begin a life of recovery give us a call at 615-490-9376.