What Does Healthy Recovery Look Like?
Substance use disorders affect people in many different ways, so there’s no one-size-fits-all method of recovery. An individual who has used multiple highly addictive substances for a long period of time may face different challenges than someone who has become dependent on a single substance for a short period of time.
No matter what your drug of choice was in the past or how far down your disease brought you, the good news is that addiction is a treatable illness. Getting and staying sober is possible, and the healthier your recovery, the more likely you’ll be able to maintain your sobriety on a long-term basis. What does it take to attain a healthy recovery?
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Desire to Be Sober and to Change
Before you can begin the journey of recovery or make any progress toward wellness, you need to have some desire to want to be sober and to change. Other people can’t make this decision for you. You’ll only be able to do what’s necessary to recover when you’re ready. On the other hand though, you dont have to wait until you are “100% ready” to start seeking help. It is normal for people in early recovery to maintain a level of ambivalence about getting and staying sober.
It takes courage and willingness to make change happen. Change means not only discontinuing the misuse of alcohol or any other mind-altering substances, but also working on the underlying issues that caused you to want to turn to substances in the first place.
Getting Help for Both Physical and Mental Aspects of Addiction
Abusing substances can cause a great deal of harm, both physically and emotionally. Physical and mental health problems that may have developed because of substance abuse include liver disease, heart disease, COPD, diabetes, HIV, Hepatitis C, depression, and anxiety.
Although some of these conditions may improve once you’re sober, some may require long-term treatment or can continue to impact your quality of life. To maintain a healthy recovery, you’ll need to address any physical or mental health challenges that have been triggered or worsened by active addiction. Keep appointments with your doctor and follow the instructions you’re given for recovery of your overall health.
Addressing Co-occurring Disorders and Problems
Many people who misuse substances do so as a method of coping with other co-occurring disorders. Examples include bipolar disorder, PTSD, panic disorder, social anxiety, schizophrenia and major depression.
Discontinuing use of substances can intensify the symptoms of other mental health disorders. This may trigger the urge to return to the habit of trying to self-medicate. Co-occurring disorders are intertwined and affect each other, so they are best treated together. Treating just one disorder won’t cure the other. Once you’re in recovery from substance abuse, any co-occurring disorders you have need to be addressed so that you can experience the most effective recovery from both.
Besides coexisting mental health problems, you may face challenges in other aspects of your life, and these problems have to be addressed. These may include loss of employment, divorce or legal problems. These problems won’t go away if you ignore them, and many of them won’t go away just because you’re sober. Facing these problems and working toward solutions is part of your ongoing recovery.
Maintaining an Ongoing Support Network
Healthy recovery almost always depends on having a network of people that you can turn to if you’re feeling vulnerable or are experiencing volatile emotions. This can help you to feel connected, avoid isolation and give you a sense of accountability.
Severing ties with people who have been part of your active addiction can leave a void in your life that needs to be filled with healthier people. When you surround yourself with other recovering people who truly understand what you’re going through, you give yourself the best chance of healthy long-term sobriety.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to substances, please call us at (866) 339-3544 or submit the form below to learn more about our treatment programs in Los Angeles.
Since 2004, Lori has worked with the behavioral health treatment community to bring awareness about mental health disorders and evidence-based treatments. Lori strives to help people better understand mental illness and provide support to those needing help and their families. As a mental health advocate, Lori works to be a voice for those suffering from substance abuse, dual diagnosis, borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other disorder.