How a Long-Term Recovery Program Increases Your Chances of Sobriety
Recovery is a microcosm of life. How you succeed in sobriety will reflect upon and accentuate how you benefit in general. When you envision your substance-free life, are you thinking in terms of months, years, decades, forever? To achieve long-term recovery, you need a long-term plan.
It is tempting to get lured into a get-well-fast program that promises luxury yet delivers few results. Sure, we all want to embark on a spa vacation disguised as a rehab center, but what happens when the holiday ends? What is your six-month outlook, not to mention your lifelong journey?
To increase your chance with meaningful sobriety, let’s take the long view. We are eager to celebrate your wellness for years to come, so let’s create a strategy to achieve that goal together.
Detoxification Is Just the Beginning
When many people discuss substance abuse, they only focus on the first word. Yes, substances are the catalyst through which addiction works, but we must understand drugs and alcohol in a much broader context if we want to tackle addiction effectively.
Many medically-assisted detox programs are invaluable when it comes to the first stage of recovery. They address physical addiction, withdrawal, and the immediacy of short-term sobriety. But what comes next? Detoxification is an essential step in the right direction, but we don’t want you to stumble on your second, third, fourth, and ensuing actions.
Abstinence must go hand-in-hand with therapy. As the body weans the addictive substance, the brain must acclimate to new chemical signals. As the mind enjoys sustained clarity, it can benefit from clear-cut thoughts and a renewed sense of optimism.
Hence, detox is just the beginning. Long-term recovery must build upon the successes of physical sobriety to create an accurate paradigm of sober living. None of this happens overnight. Give yourself time, do not rush your recovery, and pay attention to all of the various benchmarks you achieve along the way.
Creating Healthy New Patterns
Therapy is not merely a method of analyzing the human brain; it is an opportunity to restructure one’s behavior. You may experience one or two therapy sessions in short-term care and then get sent along your merry way. Long-term programs, however, establish a more meaningful structure. You can discuss how you react to various 12-step techniques, assess what elements are working, and drill down on the areas that require more attention.
The goal of sustained care is to craft healthy patterns for both your physical and mental well-being. If you respond brilliantly to sobriety in your first month, that’s great! Medical professionals should customize your therapy program to help you maintain those rewards well beyond your recovery program’s scope. How do you integrate your successes into your daily life? Will external forces tempt you once you are out of the recovery community and in your apartment, home, or workplace? How can we troubleshoot potential pitfalls before they become relapse events?
These are the central questions behind long-term sober living. By replicating real-life parameters, we face the obstacles that may stand in your way once you are back to your pre-recovery routine.
Maintain Your Momentum
Recovery can be challenging, but you are resilient. The fact that you are reading this article means that you have the strength to overcome your fears and forge a new path forward. Don’t hesitate to congratulate yourself on your accomplishments on your road to recovery.
The longer you can maintain a healthy lifestyle, the longer that lifestyle may endure. Case in point, according to an 8-year study of approximately 1,200 individuals, achieving one year of sobriety is an excellent harbinger of things to come. One-third of those who abstained from drugs and alcohol for less than 12 months maintained their sober lifestyles after eight years. Compare that figure to over half of those in recovery who accomplished at least a year of abstinence – they did not experience any relapses in the same 8-year time period.
Let’s look at the 5-year mark. Only 15% of people who achieved five years of sobriety relapse within the eight years of the study mentioned above. Longevity matters and long-term care establishes a productive pattern that will benefit recipients long after they depart from their recovery community of choice.
Success Rates Don’t Lie
The data above is encouraging, but facts and figures are mere guidelines. The one-year mark is not a magic solution, nor is the five-year mark. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Even six months of sobriety is a cause for celebration, as the science on the topic can attest.
According to one revelatory study, cocaine use for individuals who committed to six months of therapeutic recovery was half the rate of cocaine use for people who experienced less than six months of treatment. Suicidal tendencies, on the other hand, were four times greater in the short-term care population than in the long-term care group.
Six months may sound like a hefty time commitment, but it is the blink of an eye when seen in context. Your life is an endless array of possibilities, and by exerting the necessary effort and focus on your long-term recovery, the better your chances of avoiding relapse.
Community Has No Expiration Date
Instead of perceiving long-term care as a chore, see it for what it is: a transformation. Your peers are experiencing the same triumphs and struggle you are enduring, so lean on them for support and advice.
Our recovery community helps you transition from the mistakes of yesterday to the opportunities of tomorrow. The longer you commit to sobriety, the more extended sobriety will benefit you. Contact our caring team, and let’s start a conversation about achieving the best version of you possible.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.