A Solid Recovery Plan—Overcoming Your Addiction

Alcohol RecoveryA solid recovery plan can help you finally overcome your addiction. It’s not an easy process, of course, but with a good plan, the right help and commitment, you can turn things around. You can regain your physical and mental health, and begin to build a happy and successful life that is substance free.

Getting on the Right Path

Putting yourself in the right places for the right help is critical if you are ready to release addiction from your life. This means working with qualified professionals to detox, and to learn the skills you need to maintain abstinence. Everyone has certain common needs when overcoming an addiction, but everyone has very specific and individual needs, too. The right fit for you in a rehab program is essential. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of programs and many with specialties that can hone in on your individual needs.

Finding the right help can feel overwhelming. Just a Google search for rehab unlocks an avalanche of information. At Elite Rehab Placement, we can cut through the information for you quickly because we have made it our business to research treatment options. In our free consultation, we will pinpoint your specific needs, clarify your insurance coverage for treatment, and make recommendations appropriate for you or a loved one in need.

What Solid Recovery Looks Like

Recovery is an individualized experience. Some people are starting their recovery efforts in very dire circumstances, for example. They may need help to find a safe place to live, to secure income, have physical health needs met, and to remain abstinent, for example. Others may have a family crisis to manage due to the toll their addictions have taken on their relationships and ability to communicate with family members or to participate in family activities…

So, a solid recovery plan is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Admittedly, there are certain essentials. For example, any addiction recovery requires withdrawal, detox, and sustained abstinence. However, the many challenges of facilitating those take different forms in the lives of any group of recovering people. Therefore, it is essential that your recovery plan be tailor-made for you.

SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, defines recovery as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. They identify various aspects of good recovery, and some of these are:

Person-Driven—recovery is driven by the recovering person and includes self-determination and self-direction. This means people set their own life goals and design their own paths toward them. A good recovery process involves an individual’s ability to make choices along the way, empowering themselves to seek the help they need and to build on their strengths (to) gain or regain control over their lives.

Many Pathways—Recovery occurs along many pathways in one’s life, and these pathways are determined by an individual’s distinct needs, strengths, preferences, goals, culture, and backgrounds— including trauma experience. Recovery is also built using the many strengths, talents, abilities, skills, and values each individual has, including their resources in relationships, obtaining professional help and other assets.

Holistic—Recovery is a holistic process and involves one’s entire life from mental and emotional life to physical, spiritual, family and community life. From having a safe place to live and transportation to meeting one’s needs for connection in relationships and spiritual growth, all areas of human life are involved in a recovery process.

Another definition of addiction recovery comes through the medical criteria of symptoms in an addictive illness. The symptoms of addiction, or what is known medically as a Substance Use Disorder, are as follows:

  1. Using the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to.
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but unsuccessful.
  3. Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.
  4. Cravings and urges to use the substance.
  5. Foregoing responsibilities, commitments, obligations at work, home, or school because of substance use.
  6. Continuing to use despite relationship problems.
  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.
  8. Using substances even when they put you at risk.
  9. Continuing to use despite awareness of a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance.
  10. Needing more of the substance over time to achieve the desired effect (tolerance).
  11. Withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped abruptly or dose is lowered.

Good recovery in medical terms consequently would be described as none of the above symptoms being present. Various stages of remission are described such as early remission (within the first few months of abstinence); partial remission (some symptoms remain), or full remission (no symptoms after some months of abstinence), and full sustained remission (a long-term period without any symptoms present).

The Mental Health Aspects of a Solid Recovery Plan

Not everyone with an addiction has a co-occurring mental health disorder, but many do. Sometimes those mental health problems are not always distinguishable from problems caused by an active addiction. However, early recovery is a time in which that can become more apparent. Without drugs in one’s system for a while, it is easier to see if there is a mental health problem that also needs treatment.

If this is the case, the mental health issue needs to be addressed, improved and stabilizing to ensure you can have a solid recovery from any substance problem. If the mental health issue remains unstable, there is a significant risk of substance relapse. Also, if you already have a dual diagnosis when seeking help for an addiction, it is wise to enter a program in which the staff is specially trained to treat both an addiction and a mental health condition at the same time. Simultaneous treatment best ensures a solid recovery foundation for both disorders.

Physical Health Aspects of a Solid Recovery Plan

Active addiction itself is a serious health problem, and there can be lingering addiction-related problems into recovery. Some common ones are poor immunity and poor nourishment. Also, infectious conditions may have been contracted during active substance use, and other health concerns may have gone unattended.

A solid recovery plan should include attention to your physical health needs. Have a thorough physical exam and work with your health practitioner to take care of issues. Additionally, institute a good daily routine of nutrition, hydration, exercise and adequate rest. As you strengthen your body after detox, you provide yourself yet another valuable foundation upon which to further progress.

Support Needs in a Good Recovery Process

Everyone in recovery needs a good support system of professionals, people in the recovering community, friends, family, and members of a faith community or other significant group in your life. Having a diverse support system serves to meet your needs for a well-rounded life and to provide you lots of opportunities to connect in meaningful ways.

You will have to approach building such a support system as a project. It is up to you. And, it is up to you to maintain that system. Having regular and meaningful contact with each member of your support system is vital. These relationships have to be cultivated and tended regularly.  You may use a variety of ways to build and maintain your relationships—meetings, phone calls, social media, email mail, invitations to a meal, coffee, or other activity and so on.

Spiritual Needs as an Aspect of Solid Recovery

Spiritual needs in recovery, as in life, cover a wide spectrum—from participation in a religious faith to having a sense of purpose and meaning in everyday life. Spirituality does not have to involve faith in a higher being such as God, nor does it have to involve what are typically called spiritual practices. In this sense of spiritual needs, we can broaden our perspective to the following:

Feeling a sense of belonging in life

Having a purpose in life

Finding meaning in daily activities and life overall

Making meaningful and heartfelt connections with others

Being of service to others and contributing to their well-being and welfare

Having compassion and empathy for others

Feeling accepted and accepting others

Working cooperatively with others on a project with meaning for the greater good

Using ethics and principles to guide your conduct and interactions

Placing value on human life, growth, and development

Many successfully recovering people incorporate a variety of ways to fulfill their spiritual needs. These include finding meaningful and purposeful activities in daily life, studying inspiration literature, participating in groups that have an overall purpose, reaching out to others in service, participating in authentic and mutually supportive relationships, and conducting themselves according to morals, ethics, and values they hold dear.

Your Recovery Plan is Your Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse is the state of returning back to active addiction, and everyone is vulnerable to it. It is simply the nature of the illness that is often called a chronic, relapsing condition. However, to be clear, relapse is not necessarily a part of this illness if one has the right help and earnestly works a good recovery plan. The information above is just a broad sweep of what a plan should be.

There are also other aspects to include and these can be worked out with your addiction treatment professionals and recovery supports. The details of your plan should be customized for you, and it is most helpful to write out in detail the plan you are following. For example, daily schedules, the specifics of support system building and participation, and the specifics of your health improvement and maintenance plan.

Creating such a plan can seem like quite a task. However, you can make it a work in progress, and revise as you go. Also, you’ll find that in treatment you will quickly see a plan coming together. Having it written out and available for frequent review and revision keeps your recovery efforts enlivened and very real. It is a valuable tool that will serve you well as you overcome your addiction and create the life you want to have.