Defining success in recovery and treatment is complicated. There are no standards to define what is and is not successful in terms of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Ask anyone who is in recovery themselves and they will tell you that staying sober from drugs and alcohol for a day is a mark of success. For a professional industry, insurance companies, medical companies, and the government, measure success in addiction one day at a time is not sufficient.
Success in recovery needs to be defined long term- how many months or how many years does someone stay sober after treatment? Another question which complicates defining success in recovery is whether or not success is defined through abstinence.
What Counts as Success
Not everyone in the recovery industry sees abstinence as the answer since there are no standardized terms for how success is defined, many treatment centers take it upon themselves to conduct their own outcomes analysis. Some treatment centers look at how long a client stayed sober, meaning they abstained entirely from drugs and alcohol, while other treatments centers include data on “reduced substance use”.
While some people go back to using drugs and alcohol, they might do so in a healthier more manageable way. This point, too, sees much controversy. Many believe that someone who is truly addicted to drugs and alcohol cannot use drugs and/or alcohol in a manageable away as soon as they have one interaction with substances.
It is possible for people to experience a period of difficulty in which they cannot control their substance use, then return to an ability to use “normally”. However, this is extremely rare. Most often people relapse into problematic use again. These circumstances and more make it difficult to define success.
Successful Treatment Is What You Make of it
Success of a treatment center can depend on what the treatment center offers, how they manage secondary or primary mental health issues with dual diagnosis, and how they discharge clients. Research has found that transitional treatment which supports a client going through a step down process of transitioning through levels of care has the best results, helping clients stay abstinent for longer periods of time.
Success of a treatment center also depends on the client and the client’s willingness to stay sober. Anyone can go through a treatment program with the intention of using drugs and alcohol when they get out. It’s hard work to not get anything out of treatment, but many people do it.
Success of treatment is what you make it. It’s also possible for people to remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol but be dependent on replacement therapy medications, be unhealthy emotionally, and still participate in self destructive behaviors.
We want to help you define success in your life. At Lakehouse Recovery Center, we encourage and enforce abstinence in our programs as a lifestyle for recovery. Our residential inpatient and aftercare programs are designed to show clients how to have fun again, without drugs and alcohol. For information, call us today at 877.762.3707.