Addicts who achieve sobriety must “practice” their drug-free lifestyle to maintain their recovery. Preserving their sobriety will require them to avoid environmental triggers, recognize their psychosocial and emotional triggers, and develop healthy behaviors.
For a sustained recovery, it is important to keep the following five factors in mind.
1.The difference between getting sober and living sober:
These are two completely different phases of recovery. Early recovery is nothing like being sober for years. Many people relapse because they never move past the initial phase of recovery, where their sole aim is to stay sober.
Personal growth from all aspects is vital to maintain a positive direction in recovery. If you are not improving, chances are you are regressing toward relapse.
2.Relationships in recovery:
Addicts spend most of their time and energy on drug-related activities. Due to this narrow focus, they neglect their relationships, causing them to gradually lose touch with sober individuals.
Positive, healthy relationships are an extremely important source of support during an addict’s process of recovery. Patients should reassess their relationships, possibly with the help of a counselor. Positive family and social relationships form a solid support system during recovery. Damaging or unhealthy relationships that will only hold patients back from progress should be reconsidered.
3.Importance of overall health in recovery:
Many addicts who relapse do so after a medical complication threatens their life. Striving for better health should be central to recovery strategy. Medical emergencies often cause relapse, so adopting a healthier lifestyle will help maintain recovery. A holistic approach, including diet, exercise and nutrition, will help limit medically motivated relapses. Success in recovery should always include a push for greater health.
The way people think impacts their experience of the world. Strong evidence suggests that positive thinking and gratitude can improve people’s mental and physical well-being. It is only when people take their recovery for granted or develop negative thinking that they inch toward relapse. A grateful attitude will help people in recovery face challenges calmly and see problems as a chance to grow rather than a weakness.
5.The power of helping others:
Being of service has many health benefits to those in recovery. Participating in charity can combat isolation, narcissism, resentment and relapse, as well as build empathy, self-esteem and a sense of purpose.
According to research led by Dr. Maria Pagano at the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, 40 percent of alcoholics who helped other alcoholics were able to avoid drinking for the year following treatment; only 22 percent of those who didn’t help others stayed sober.
Another study by Pagano found addicts who helped other addicts to have an improved self-image and lower depression levels. Efforts don’t have to be recovery-related, though many people in recovery find this type of service to be especially therapeutic and rewarding.
Sovereign Health is a leading behavioral health provider devoted to evidence-based treatment of substance abuse disorders and mental illnesses. Our holistic approach focuses on not just your success in our programs but to see our patients enjoy a sustained healthy recovery and successful reintegration into the society. If you or a loved one is struggling to regain control of your life, contact us right away through our 24/7 helpline.
Written by Sana Ahmed, Sovereign Health Group writer