Looking to achieve long-term recovery from addiction? If so, you need to have the right foundation. Experts believe that there are four pillars that contribute to successful long-term recovery: health, therapy, purpose, and community. Research agrees. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recovery is a process that helps individuals improve their health and wellness so that they can live purposeful self-directed lives. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol, participating in therapy, establishing healthy lifestyle choices, nurturing positive relationships, and living a purposeful life can help you obtain and maintain long-term recovery.
The Four Pillars of Successful Long-Term Recovery
Recovering from addiction is a process that requires commitment and hard work. Even though everyone’s recovery journey is different, there are four pillars that help provide a solid foundation for successful recovery. Learning these pillars and understanding their role in the recovery process can help you get sober, overcome addiction, and avoid relapse.
Pillar 1: Abstinence
When you’re ready for long-term recovery, one of the first things you need to do is abstain from drugs and alcohol. Abstinence means refraining from all mood-altering substances, including drugs, alcohol, and some prescription medications. Abstinence also means avoiding activities that can trigger substance use, such as hanging out with people who use drugs or going to places where drugs are used. Stepping away from these substances gives you a chance to start rebuilding your life. Abstinence also helps improve your physical health.
Alcohol and drugs can both contribute to liver diseases and high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat, both of which increase the risk of heart disease. There are many physical health benefits associated with abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Abstinence can help prevent organ damage and heart disease, and reduce the risk of cancer.
Other benefits of abstinence include:
- Improved relationships
- Better mood
- Reduced stress levels
- Greater energy
- Better memory
- Improved sleep
- Increased focus and concentration
- Increased productivity
Pillar 2: Therapy
Working with a therapist can help you identify and cope with the underlying causes of your addiction. Doing this can help you resist the temptation to abuse substances again and improve your mental health. Therapy can also help you work through trauma and distressing emotions to develop a sense of optimism and hope regarding your future.
Therapy can be a life-changing experience. In addition to helping you gain insight into yourself and improving your self-esteem, therapy can help improve your relationships, increasing your overall happiness. Even though the road to recovery can be challenging, therapy can help guide you along the way and provide you with the support you need to make lasting changes.
Pillar 3: Healthy, Supportive Relationships
One of the most important pillars of long-term recovery is positive healthy relationships. This means having supportive and meaningful relationships with family, friends, and others in the recovery community. These relationships provide a sense of connection, belonging, and support that is essential for maintaining sobriety. They also offer an opportunity to learn new skills, build self-esteem, and develop a positive outlook on life. In addition, these relationships can provide a much-needed distraction from urges and temptations to use drugs or alcohol.
Participating in 12-step programs and peer-support groups is one of the best ways to foster healthy, supportive relationships. At first, it can be difficult to open up about your struggles with addiction, and even harder to find others who understand what you’re going through. That’s where peer support groups can be a valuable resource. In a peer support group, you can share your experiences and offer each other guidance and support. These groups provide a safe space for honest discussion and can help you build a network of people who understand the challenges of recovery. In addition, peer support groups can be a source of motivation and inspiration, helping you stay on track with your goals.
Pillar 4: Meaningful Work & A Purposeful Life
Numerous studies have shown that individuals who are employed are more likely to stay sober and less likely to relapse than those who are not employed. Furthermore, employment provides a structure and routine that can help to keep individuals on track in their recovery. However, it is not enough to simply have a job; the work must be meaningful and provide a sense of purpose. A study of recovering addicts found that those who had jobs that were low in both pay and job satisfaction were more likely to relapse than those who had jobs that were high in pay and job satisfaction. This suggests that it is not merely having a job, but having a job that is fulfilling, that is key to maintaining sobriety in the long term.
A sense of purpose and meaningful work can be a powerful motivator to stay on the path of recovery, even when times are tough. In addition, having a stable income can help to reduce the stress and financial insecurity that can trigger a relapse. For these reasons, a purposeful life and meaningful work are essential pillars of long-term recovery from addiction.
Self-Care & Addiction Recovery
In addition to the four pillars of long-term recovery, one of the most important things you can do to support your recovery is to practice self-care. Simply put, self-care is the act of taking care of oneself, both physically and emotionally. Even though self-care can take many different forms, some common examples include:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Attending therapy appointments
While it may seem like a luxury, self-care is actually essential for preventing burnout and preserving our well-being. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to handle stress and adversity. You are also more likely to be productive and successful in your endeavors. So next time you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to take some time for yourself. You deserve it and will benefit from it.
Let Us Help You Recover
Achieving long-term recovery from addiction is possible, but it takes work. Establishing a solid foundation by abstaining from drugs and alcohol, making healthy lifestyle choices, nurturing positive relationships, and living a purposeful life can help you achieve sobriety and maintain long-term recovery. If you’re ready to say goodbye to addiction, we can help.
Contact us today for more information about our treatment programs and how we can help you take the first step toward recovery.
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Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.