If you’ve struggled with addiction for a long time and now you’re on your way to getting sober, you may want to know where you’re headed. What does your future look like without alcohol and drugs? What does your life feel like without the highs and lows of addiction?
Part of creating a new life for yourself is finding your own definition of recovery. It’s having a clear idea of the process you’re going through, what to expect, and what you’d like to look like in the future.
Find Your Own Definition of Recovery
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT): Recovery from alcohol and drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life.
American Society of Addiction Medicine: A person is in a state of recovery when he or she has reached a state of physical and psychological health such that abstinence from dependency-producing drugs is complete and comfortable.
Betty Ford Institute: A voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship.
UK Drug Policy Commission: The process of recovery from problematic substance use is characterized by voluntarily-sustained control over substance use which maximizes health and well-being and participation in the rights, roles, and responsibilities of society.
Scottish Government: A process through which an individual is enabled to move on from their problem drug use, towards a drug-free life as an active and contributing member of society.
SAMHSA: Recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
At the same time, the organizations listed above and many others agree that recovery services that a person receives need to have the following components:
- services must be comprehensive
- involve family and loved ones
- services must be ongoing and across the lifespan, if necessary
- care should be continuous throughout recovery
- focus on a person’s strengths
- respect and respond to a person’s culture/ethnicity
- respect and respond to a person’s religious/spiritual beliefs
- integrated recovery services
- monitoring and outreach
- based upon up to date research
- financially affordable
With all this in mind, what do you want your recovery to look like?
Questions to Ask Yourself as You Develop Your Own Definition of Recovery
- Who do you want to involve in your recovery?
- What major issues in your life have contributed to addiction and how can you address them?
- What medical concerns need to be addressed?
- Do you need to change friendships in order to avoid the presence of drugs and alcohol in your life?
- What other changes do you need to make so that drugs and alcohol are not present in your life? (such as no longer working as a bartender)
- What would you like to do to have fun in your recovery?
- Who do you need to become in order to stay sober?
- What personal traits do you need to let go of in order to stay sober?
- Can you afford to wrap yourself in recovery services? Can you make financial plans so that can get the services you need?
It’s important to give your path of recovery some thought. Planning ahead of time can prevent problems and strengthen your ability to stay sober.
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