8 Essentials for Recovery from Addiction

Posted on January 21, 2017 By

Recovery from addiction is no easy task, and the consequences of relapse can be devastating, even deadly. So, here are 8 essential elements for successful recovery. #1. You must have a plan for recovery because the odds of staying clean and sober decrease significantly without a solid plan. Triggers for cravings are everywhere. Threats to sobriety abound. You wouldn’t want to navigate a minefield without a plan. Rather, you’d want a specific strategy, good tools, and much support. Well, recovery from addiction requires the same preparation. Wanting to be clean and sober is good but NOT sufficient. You must have a solid plan for recovery to increase your odds of success. #2. You must follow the plan everyday whether you feel like it or not. Your addicted brain is a hijacked and ill brain. Addiction disrupts the reward circuit of the brain, which is why addiction is an illness.

Your brain has been hijacked into believing that the substances you abused are as necessary for survival as breath itself, so your brain became dependent upon the substances just to feel OK, which is why addiction is so difficult to beat. But there’s hope. With sobriety and time your brain will heal, but it takes many months, which is why you must follow your plan, whether you feel like it or not, so you can protect your Healthy Brain from being manipulated by your Hijacked Addicted Brain.

#3. You must build a support system for sobriety, which might include AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery, sponsors, outpatient addiction and mental health treatment, and family and friends who support your sobriety. If you’re used to going it alone, it is vital that you overcome your social fears and reach out to healthy others for support because if you could’ve solved your addiction by yourself, you would have done it long ago. In addition, attending regular group meetings can become a major part of the structure and routine of your recovery, so you know where you need to be and what you need to be doing every hour of every day to avoid wandering off into the minefields that trigger relapse. #4. You must seriously consider outpatient addiction treatment to learn about the disease of addiction and why sobriety IS the treatment. Many addicts feel like outsiders, so group therapy can build a sense of belongingness, which is important for recovery and good mental health. In addition, in early recovery it is important to know where you should be and what you should be doing at all times so you can avoid the minefields that trigger relapse.

#5. You must learn relapse prevention skills by identifying the triggers that produce your cravings and developing a specific strategy for each trigger. For example, if boredom is a trigger, then how will you deal with boredom without relapsing? If getting a paycheck is a trigger, then how will you handle pay day without using? You must also develop skills and strategies for dealing with cravings because you WILL experience them. And you must have a plan for preventing a slip from turning into a relapse. #6. You must seriously consider outpatient mental health treatment if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, boredom, anger, mood swings, loneliness, or just feeling stressed. In early recovery, there are usually losses to be grieved, issues to be sorted out, and new skills to be learned, thus seeing a mental health professional knowledgeable in addiction and recovery can be an important part of your recovery plan. In addition, in early recovery brain chemistry is clearly out of balance, so a therapist can assess the appropriateness of medications for obtaining emotional stability.

#7. You must work on improving self-care skills, including diet, exercise, and sleep. You must also learn healthy relationship skills such as assertiveness, setting boundaries, and conflict resolution. However, during the first year of recovery you should avoid beginning a romantic relationship because early recovery is a full-time job, and you don’t need the distraction and stress of a romantic relationship, which is often a trigger for relapse. #8. You must work to develop healthy activities and hobbies to build self-esteem, give your life meaning and purpose, and to fend off boredom and idle time, which can lead to relapse. An important goal of your Plan for Recovery is to always have healthy options of things to do and places to be that support your sobriety. I wish you success in your journey to sobriety and health! If you found this video helpful, please click the Thumbs Up button. And if you want to hear more from me, then subscribe to my channel, Counselor Carl. I will be publishing a new video every other weekend.

If you’d like help in creating your plan for recovery, then visit my website, serenityonlinetherapy.com, to learn more about me and the services I provide. Until next time. And keep paying attention to your life..

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