Addiction is a complex disease that involves changes of the body, in the mind and in emotional responses. Treatment is only part of the process of restoring an individual’s life to normalcy. Recovering from addiction is an ongoing commitment to perform actions and activities that promote healthier thinking and behavior so that relapse into substance use can be avoided.
Successful addiction recovery includes a variety of techniques that help individuals self-monitor and acquire help when they’re tempted to relapse. The President recently declared September of 2015 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month to encourage awareness of this important issue in American society.
What Is Addiction Recovery?
Recovering from addiction is a process of changing thought patterns, attitudes and behaviors to create conditions that makes it easier to live without addictive substances. Recovering doesn’t occur with detoxification from the addictive substance, nor is it accomplished when a rehab program is completed.
Addiction recovery is ongoing in an individual’s life. Because drugs or alcohol has created so many changes in these individuals’ lives, returning to normal involves a series of steps that helps them re-learn how to make positive choices.
Stages of Addiction Recovery
The process doesn’t occur all at once, but in a series of stages in which individuals learn to manage the disease effectively:
- Treatment initiation – Individuals often have mixed feelings about entering recovery and must work through denial and lack of ability to commit to the treatment process.
- Early abstinence – Addicts must undergo withdrawal from the substance and the varying degrees of physical and emotional discomfort.
- Maintaining abstinence – In this stage, individuals learn about the causes and consequences of their substance use and methods for dealing with cravings.
- Advanced recovery – In this stage, individuals have learned how to maintain sobriety using the techniques they have learned in treatment and have made the changes that allow them to maintain normal lives.
Problems of Addiction Recovery
Perceptions can also cause a number of problems for individuals who have been in treatment. Employers or community members may believe these individuals have been “cured” and no longer have to struggle with their substance abuse. Others may not believe that treatment works and may continue to treat individuals as addicts.
Misconceptions about the process of recovering from substance abuse can create additional challenges for those who are working toward rebuilding their lives. Many people may not understand that addiction is a chronic disease that requires ongoing maintenance and treatment, and that relapses often occur routinely.
Separation from ordinary life can often help individuals gain a new perspective on their substance use and how they contribute to their addiction. Professional treatment in a conducive atmosphere, such as in sunny Florida, provides a positive background for the changes they need to make to rebuild their lives.