How Tough and Long Can Your Addiction Recovery Journey Be?

Have you ever heard of these lines before from someone you trusted or cared for?

“If I don’t do a line today, I’ll be fine,” Or “I haven’t used anything for days. I’m doing great!” “Don’t worry; I’m doing the right things. I didn’t smoke today.”

These are great things to hear from a person recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, but they are all short-term. They are the beginning and certainly not the end.

Long-term addiction recovery is something that happens over time. It’s a one-day-at-a-time recovery, repeated day after day, for months and years. It’s a commitment to doing the right things and sharing those changes with others in order to help them achieve a level of success close to or better than yours. It’s about making the right choices in friends, activities, and life. It’s about doing the next right thing.

The toughest part of recovery is the beginning. When you stop using, you’ll experience some level of withdrawal symptoms. These can be as slight as missing the high or as extreme as convulsive cravings for drugs or alcohol. It may take some days or even weeks of abstinence to stop feeling the pain of withdrawal. Remember, you helped your body learn to like the substances, and now you need to retrain your body. You must permit your body to adjust in its own time and do the best you can to avoid going back to a place of comfort. It may be really hard, but if you’re determined, you’ll pull through it.

Trying to recover alone is almost as crazy as drug abuse itself. Recovery is generally a series of events in which one goes in and out of recovery until they stop returning. The good news is that not everyone goes out of recovery. There are people that make the decision to stop using and do, never relapsing. They may be few and far between, but it isn’t impossible. Your level of commitment will determine your course of recovery.

For many years, we all heard the TV commercials that said it so simply: “Just Say No!” It seems so simple; how hard could it be? Well, if you’ve lived with addiction, you know that once you become an addict, it’s more than just saying no, because addiction is an illness. Addiction can be managed through therapy, behavioral retraining, and a commitment to remain sober. It sounds so easy, and for some, it is; however, for most, it is a struggle, and that struggle is daily. Finding support from others in AA, NA, or whatever group fits your needs best will be great because you will draw on their experiences and strength to pull you through the toughest times and offer your support to others, which in turn makes you even stronger.

Recovery is forever, and you can do it only if you try. It may not be easy, but the longer you do it, the easier it will be to stay committed to your program. Work it, help others, and live a long and happy life.

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