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Some People Excel at Recovery from Addiction and Some Don’t—Which One Are You?

Facing the difficulty of substance abuse treatment and recovery can make people look around and compare themselves to others. Sometimes, it is to make themselves feel better: “At least I don’t look like her.” Sometimes, it is out of jealousy: “Why does she look so much better than I do?” Sometimes, it is just to gauge progress: “I must be doing the right thing because I look like most of the other people in this group.”

Comparisons are inevitable. Just as inevitable is the reality that certain people more easily succeed at recovery than do others.

What follows are some characteristics of those who excel and those who struggle. Compare the traits with your current recovery plan and if you find yourself in the struggling group, work on acquiring traits of those who excel to aid you in an easier recovery. Contact us at 800-481-6320 to talk about behaviors you can incorporate into your recovery to help you to excel.

Treat Your Whole Person

Drug addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum, so a successful treatment and recovery plan cannot focus on the substance abuse without considering other factors. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, for example, asserts “Several studies have also linked heavy marijuana use to lower income, greater welfare dependence, unemployment, criminal behavior, and lower life satisfaction.” Similar links have also been shown to exist between users of other drugs and similar conditions, as well.

It’s possible that these conditions lead the user into an environment where drug use was more prevalent or accepted. But, it’s just as likely that people facing those bleak conditions turned to drugs as a way to deal with the difficulty of being dissatisfied, uneducated, and unemployed.

Stopping the use of marijuana doesn’t fix the other issues. They remain, and they can create stress that makes relapse more likely. To excel at recovery, look for a program that provides training or offers referrals to community resources to help you deal with these issues in recovery.

Remain Engaged

support group

Having support will help you recover.

To excel at recovery, addicts need to commit to lifetime learning and to doing the work required. Treatment involves learning a whole bunch of stuff very quickly and it can be incredibly difficult to follow fully. It isn’t enough to stop learning when you get out.

You may only be in treatment for a few months, but you will need to control your addiction for the rest of your life. Spend time learning more about your condition, its symptoms, and its management. You are likely to find information you didn’t learn previously and to cement some of the things that you did learn.

For example, findings in the August 2015 issue of Addiction indicate: “Among people treated for alcohol use disorder, being in physical pain appears to predict heavy drinking lapses during or after treatment.” Knowing that could help someone in alcohol recovery adjust their recovery plan to compensate for instances of physical pain.

Do the same hard work with your therapy. Keep a journal, tell friends and family about what you are learning, and make it a point to put your therapist’s recommendations into action. Doing so will increase your chances of excelling at recovery.

Get Support

Some people turn to family, some to friends, and others to groups to lend them support through recovery. The best bet is to get support from all three.

Family and friends can serve an important role both as providers of a safe space—many recovering addicts return to a family home or to a friend’s house to learn to navigate through daily life—and as a motivator to continue moving forward with recovery.

But, creating a family support system isn’t always easy. Addiction can leave family relationships fractured. To transition from dysfunctional unit to moral boosters is no easy task, but has been done and continues to be done every day. Your family and friends can do it, too.

Support groups are often offered through your rehabilitation program and are community staples in most locales, as well. There is nothing wrong with sampling all of the available groups until you find one whose members and philosophies best align with what you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to go to a number of meetings and to only choose to regularly attend one or two. By taking the time to find the best group for you, you better support your recovery foundation.

Those who excel at recovery do so because they have multiple points of support, which means that no single support bears the whole of the recovering addict’s weight. When you can transition between various people, you always have access to one that is fresh and ready to do their best to help you.

Keep in mind that succeeding at recovery isn’t easy and it doesn’t mean you won’t relapse as part of the process. Even people who excel can have a relapse. But, patterning your recovery after the behaviors of those who have excelled is a great starting place. Give us a call at 800-481-6320 to discuss more options and suggestions to help you to shine in recovery.

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