Living in Recovery: What Works? NIH HEAL Initiative

Research and clinical experience have identified a number of factors that promote recovery. Another is reorienting the brain circuitry of desire—finding or rediscovering a passion or pursuit that gives meaning to life and furnishes personal goals that are capable of supplanting the desire for drugs. A third is establishing and maintaining a strong sense of connection to others; support helps people stay on track, and it helps retune the neural circuits of desire and goal-pursuit. Learning new coping skills for dealing with unpleasant feelings is another pillar of recovery. After discussion with you, your health care provider may recommend medicine as part of your treatment for opioid addiction. Medicines don’t cure your opioid addiction, but they can help in your recovery.

50.2 million American adults considered themselves to be in recovery from their substance use and/or mental health problems. 2 in 3 adults who ever had a mental health problem considered themselves to be recovering or in recovery. Experts believe that tackling the emotional residue of addiction—the guilt and shame—is fundamental to building a healthy life.

Other NIDA Sites

Find treatment programs in your state that treat recent onset of serious mental illnesses. For those grappling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), characterized by the uncontrollable consumption of alcohol despite harmful consequences, the path to recovery can be particularly demanding. National surveys reveal that only about one-third of individuals with AUD attempt to quit drinking each year.

recovery substance abuse

24-hour, toll-free, confidential support for people in distress. Prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.Call or text 988. Group therapy sessions focusing on understanding addiction help individuals understand the science behind their condition. 7 in 10 adults who ever had a substance use problem considered themselves to be recovering or in recovery.

My Addiction Recovery Story

If you don’t believe you can handle going into a place that serves alcohol, or where drugs could be offered then stay away. You may struggle to come up with things to do, now that you’ve stopped using a substance. It’s normal to feel that way, but the fact is there are lots of things you can do without putting yourself at risk of a relapse.

For many of those who are addicted, enduring even that action is unimaginable. What must follow is the process of behavior change, through which the brain gradually rewires and renews itself. I remember when the idea of going an hour seemed impossible. And when it took me two years to string together 90 days together in a row, I felt like I was doing it for the first time because I had internalized the shame about relapse. In reality, I had been fighting it for two years, not just 90 days. So I’m not shaming the next person who faces a similar struggle.

Care at Mayo Clinic

These outcomes include significantly reduced drug and alcohol misuse, decreased criminal activity, and improved overall social and psychological well-being. Recognizing addiction as a chronic condition akin to other enduring health issues is essential. Consequently, relapse, or a return to drug and alcohol use, can be an inherent part of the recovery process. However, it’s crucial to understand that relapse should not be viewed as a treatment failure. Topics could include the neurological aspects of addiction, the cycle of addiction, and the long-term effects on physical and mental health.

  • For some people, committing to complete abstinence is not desirable or is too daunting a prospect before beginning treatment.
  • A friend had got hold of a couple of litres of vodka and we were at another friend’s house sharing it around.
  • The non-opioid drugs include those relatively new to the street, like the animal tranquilizer xylazine, which can char human flesh, anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Klonopin and older recreational stimulants like cocaine and meth.
  • Picking up a new skill or trade or furthering your education can open the door to new career opportunities.

The best way to handle a relapse is to take quick action to seek help, whether it’s intensifying support from family, friends, and peers or entering a treatment program. One advantage of mutual support groups is that there is likely someone to call on in such an emergency who has experienced a relapse and knows exactly how to help. In addition, immediately attending or resuming group meetings and discussing the relapse can yield much advice on how to continue recovery without succumbing to the counterproductive feeling of shame or self-pity. Research has identified relapse patterns in adolescents and adults recovering from addiction. In one study, two-thirds of the adults relapsed in social situations in which they experienced urges and temptations to drink or use. One third experienced relapses when they were experiencing negative emotions and urges to drink/use.

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