What Is It Like to Live in Recovery?

Posted in: Recovery

January 29, 2017

A picture of a hiking trail with the sun shining through the trees

Each year, millions of people who struggle with drug addictions get professional help and receive addiction rehabilitation treatment. For many people, the idea of rehabilitation can be intimidating, as it can involve an intense detoxification process, multiple therapy sessions and many educational programs. Additionally, life after rehabilitation can also be scary, as many people don’t know what to expect with recovery. But rehabilitation and recovery don’t have to be frightening as long as the person knows what to expect. It’s therefore essential for someone beginning the rehabilitation and recovery processes to understand what occurs throughout the various stages of both processes.

What is Addiction?

Substance addictions are powerful forces in many people’s lives. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a chronic disease that affects many different functions of the brain, especially those related to reward, memory, and motivation. A person with an addiction is so strongly affected by the substance he uses that his judgment and decision-making processes become severely impaired. It’s therefore essential that a person struggling with a substance addiction seek out professional help in order to begin the rehabilitation and recovery processes.

What Do Addiction Rehabilitation and Recovery Look Like?

Rehabilitating from an addiction can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The treatment process varies for each rehabilitation program, but the focus of every kind of rehabilitation is to prepare the person for life in recovery. A person’s life after addiction treatment looks very different from the life he led before he sought out professional help for his addiction. As SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocol Series (TIP), No. 41 describes, many people in the late stage of addiction treatment and early stage of life in recovery often have to deal with issues that the substance use camouflaged, such as:

  • Low self-esteem: many people abuse substances because they are uncomfortable with who they are and are unsure of how to function normally without the assistance of substances.
  • Past trauma: events in a person’s life that were scary and disturbing can be too much to deal with alone, so some people turn to substance abuse to avoid the stress of coping with trauma.
  • Relationship problems: every social interaction can be complex, challenging, and stressful, and a person who is unsure of how to handle difficulties in a relationship may turn to a substance to ignore these problems.

Another possible issue a person might deal with in recovery is relapse. A lot of people who go through an addiction rehabilitation program find themselves using the substance again, in spite of their best efforts to remain sober. Relapse doesn’t mean the person has failed; instead, as TIP No. 41 explains, the person should take the relapse as an opportunity to identify what triggers his drug use, or, more specifically, which people and environments he needs to avoid.

Where Can I Find More Information About Life in Recovery?

Living in recovery from a substance addiction means working through physical, social, and psychological issues in a healthy and productive way and without the help of substances. If you or someone you love is dealing with a substance addiction and wondering what recovery is like, please call us today at 615-490-9376. Our admissions coordinators are available to talk to you about the recovery process, and they can also help you find a treatment program that best fits your needs.

Related Posts