successful addiction recovery

What Factors Make Addiction Recovery Successful?

What does it take to be successful in addiction recovery? 

Although there is no definitive answer, several factors play a critical role in the recovery process. For example, selecting the appropriate recovery program and having a robust support system are two significant predictors of success. However, several other factors are within your control and can affect your progress.

Let’s look at the different factors that can increase the odds for a successful recovery. 

What are the Chances of Succeeding in Recovery? 

Many people point to the fact that relapse rates are between 40 and 60 percent in the first year of recovery, making sobriety seem out of reach for some individuals. However, addiction is a chronic disease with periods of remission and relapse.

Just because a person relapses does not mean that they don’t ever go on to achieve sobriety—many do. Habits take time to break, and it’s not uncommon for people to have a few setbacks. 

So how many people are actually successful in addiction recovery? One recent study from SAMHSA found that 7 in 10 adults (or 20.9 million) who ever had a substance use problem consider themselves recovered or in recovery.

This means that as long as you are willing to put in the work, you can achieve long lasting sobriety, just as millions of other people have done. 

What Factors Influence the Recovery Process? 

Below are some of the most significant factors that play a consistent role in the recovery process. 

Understand the nature of addiction 

If you seek treatment at a recovery center, you will spend a lot of time learning about addiction and how it affects individuals and their families. There are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding addiction, but most are outdated and have been debunked by research and science. 

For example, when a person develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol, their brain has already started to change. The addictive substances trigger a release of dopamine, and the brain remembers this surge.

With continued use of the substance, the brain’s circuits adapt and become less sensitive to dopamine. This makes it harder to get pleasure from normal, everyday activities. 

Achieving these effects becomes incredibly important, but you’re still building tolerance and needing more and more to achieve the same effects.

The brain can heal and you can be successful in addiction recovery, but it takes time. Learning about addiction is empowering and allows you to develop realistic goals and expectations for the process. 

Improve your mental health 

It’s very common for individuals with addiction to experience mental health problems. To improve overall health and increase the chances for successful recovery, it’s important to treat both disorders simultaneously. 

Make sure you are screened for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc., if you haven’t been already. It’s possible that you’ve been dealing with a mental health disorder for some time and turned to drugs or alcohol to cope. By treating the underlying problem, it will be easier to recover from substance use. 

Take good care of yourself 

Self-care is so important for successful addiction recovery! Chances are, you haven’t given yourself quality care or attention in a long time, but now is your time to do so. The best ways to build yourself up are by: 

  • Eating a healthy diet. Fuel your body with healthy foods to repair tissues, support cognitive function and boost your immune system. 
  • Moving daily. Make an effort to get moving for about 30 minutes a day. This can be as simple as two 15-minute walks around the neighborhood. 
  • Getting adequate rest. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for relapse. Create a consistent sleep schedule with 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Talk to your doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping. 
  • Enjoying alone time. A healthy routine should leave time for just you—to do the things that bring you joy. You don’t need to fill every second of your day. Leave time for reading, watching TV or meditating. 

Build a strong support system 

Those who are fortunate enough to have a strong support system tend to have better outcomes than those without. Hopefully, you have a family at home that is supporting your journey and creating a healthy, sober environment for you to return home to. If you don’t, you’ll have to look harder to find support, but rest assured that it’s there. 

You can meet positive people by: 

  • Signing up for activities and hobbies that you enjoy
  • Volunteering your time and talents to different organizations
  • Participating in 12-step meetings and support groups in your area
  • Keeping in touch with the alumni from your treatment program 
  • Reconnecting with friends and acquaintances from before your addiction 
  • Joining a faith-based community 

Know what you need 

Something that becomes very important in recovery is knowing what you need. Since each person’s needs are different, you’ll have to learn how to be in tune with your wants and needs. 

One of the tools that can help with this is HALT—Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. When you are experiencing any one of these things, it can cause you to engage in self-destructive behaviors. By asking yourself what you need—Am I hungry? Is there something I’m angry about? Could I use someone to talk to? Am I feeling tired?—you can get in front of your needs and prevent relapse. 

Motivation for change 

Even though addiction is a brain disease, you still need to have the motivation to change. Recovery is hard, and if you’re not willing to put in the work, you’re likely to return to old habits. What makes things complicated, however, is that motivation comes from various sources. 

For instance, maybe you do want to change, but the repercussions from your addiction (legal troubles, damaged relationships, financial difficulties) are hurting your motivation. Fortunately, therapies like Contingency Management and Motivational Interviewing can help you develop greater motivation for change. 

Live in the moment but think long-term 

When you’re in recovery, you get used to living day by day, especially at first when you’re rebuilding your life. If you start thinking about all the things you are going to change and fix, it can overwhelm you and cause you to relapse. 

Instead, it’s best to take things one day at a time while thinking about the long-term rewards. For example, if you feel an urge to use, you can’t just give in to the here and now. You have to acknowledge that the feeling will pass, and that by staying sober, you get to continue on your path to recovery. 

Start Your Recovery Today—and Give Yourself the Best Chances for Success

There are many factors that impact the recovery process, and these are some of the most crucial. If you are experiencing a substance use problem, contact Awakenings Treatment Center today. We can help you reclaim your life and get on the path to recovery using a combination of evidence-based therapies and holistic practices.