The road to addiction recovery: Where’s the finish line?

Addiction recovery is a process – there are 12 steps, after all. It cannot come in a day, and may take several years for a person to overcome. So how do we know when a person has truly recovered? Is there a defining, peak moment for someone struggling with addiction when he or she knows they have overcome it?

Like success, addiction recovery is hard to measure, as everyone sees it differently. Some share more successes, while others experience more setbacks. Often, there are a series of factors that may impact someone’s road to recovery.

Many have attempted to define and understand addiction recovery, but most to no avail. William White, a senior research consultant at Chestnut Health Solutions, wrote of his observations in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment on why recovery may be so hard to define.

“It is not surprising in the face of such confusion that researchers tend to avoid the term, clinicians and mutual aid advocates use the term but with different meanings, and the public tends to understand recovery as an attempt to resolve, rather than the successful resolution of, AOD problems,” he wrote.

Despite the confusion, there are a few common themes among the definitions. Here are a few tips that may help lead someone with addiction to success.

Seek addiction help from a variety of resources

To recover, he or she must look within, but also discover help from others. The first step in the 12-step program asks someone to admit that he or she has a problem, but also that they need to seek help. Programs like these could help start the process and put someone on the right track. But finding the strength within matters too. It is emphasized in many addiction recovery programs to create a stronger sense of self and stand up to someone’s demons. Those in recovery learn to avoid triggers that may cause them to become weak and succumb to relapse, which is taught during the fifth step.

Start healing by mending broken relationships

Those with an addiction aren’t the only ones who suffer. An addiction can impact many friends and loved ones and take a large toll on relationships. It is crucial to rally support from friends and family, and use them when feeling lost or susceptible to relapsing.

Find meaning in life and stay productive

Let productivity and purposefulness lead the way. Getting involved in a community can lend support from people and build friendships. It can also allow someone to create meaning and direction, and feel needed.

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