WHAT IT TAKES TO SUSTAIN A SUCCESSFUL RECOVERY
Recovery from addiction is a long and challenging process. It is essential that patients develop a commitment to their own recovery and act as the “engine” driving the recovery process. In addition to overcoming cravings and withdrawal, it is imperative that the treatment address any co-occurring conditions or necessary behavioral modifications and changes in lifestyle. Such common conditions include depression, anger, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), grief, and peer pressure. Unless treated, these conditions are likely to cause unnecessary relapse.
However, relapse does not necessarily result in failure. While it is discouraged, relapse is an organic part of the recovery process. This is because committed patients often bounce back from relapse and carry on with an even stronger dedication to their recovery. Studies suggest that almost all patients with successful recoveries have experienced relapse.
As a patient continues to work and progress in their recovery, utilizing medication and counseling services, they will begin reaching their short-term and long-term treatment goals. This is an indicator that they are ready to take the next step in their recovery and begin tapering off of medication.
Even though the tapering process can be initiated by a patient, the patient’s caseload manager and physician (as well as other members of their treatment team) are involved in the decision. Timing is a very important element in the successful tapering of patients from treatment. The physician, in conjunction with the patient and their caseload manager, will develop a schedule of tapers or lowering of dosages prior to tapering off of medication. Every individual will taper off of medication at a different pace, based on several factors of their treatment. Once the patient tapers off of medication, they have successfully completed their treatment program.
Successfully completing a treatment program may be the biggest accomplishment for a patient. However, it does not mean that one should stop working on their recovery. It is important to remember that recovery is a process that must be worked on well beyond completion of a patient’s treatment program.
Many successful program graduates continue to work on their recovery by joining support groups at their local communities (e.g. 12-step groups, church groups, etc.), investing time into new hobbies (e.g. exercising, volunteering) and establishing new goals (e.g. continuing their education, beginning new jobs).
To assist successful program graduates in their efforts to stay sober, Aegis offers ex-patients free access to participate in local Keys to Recovery support groups, special clinical groups, and collateral services. Aegis believes that patients, active and graduated, should have access to the latest advances in therapy and medicine, and be given the best chance at recovery and a brighter future.
Make your recovery a priority – Put yourself first and commit time and effort in your comprehensive treatment.
Take it one day at a time – Recovery is a process, and there is no “silver bullet”. Do not let thoughts of using or old habits get the best of you. Work with your treatment team to identify and develop techniques to help overcome any negative thoughts and feelings.
Communicate – While it may be tough, the support system you create—whether it is your family, friends, or counselors—will give you an enormous boost. They can help you stay motivated and focused.
Change your environment – One of the best ways to maintain a healthy recovery is to replace your bad habits with healthy, new ones. Surround yourself with positive people, things and experiences. Search out new hobbies, places and activities in your area that can stimulate your body and mind in a new, exciting and healthy way.
Join a support group – Join a Keys to Recovery (K2R) support group, a church based group, or a 12-step program, as many of the members share similar experiences and have learned lessons in life that may help you in your recovery efforts.
Never give up – Regardless of the challenges or obstacles you face, do not give up or give in. Rely on your support system and coping skills to continue on in the face of temptations and difficult days.