The Five Rules of Recovery and Relapse Prevention

Adding movement as part of a daily routine can significantly improve a long-term recovery outlook. Whether it is walking, hiking, doing yoga, or lifting weights, exercise can help a person feel good about his or her body. Exercise also reduces boredom, which is a common trigger for a relapse. No matter what type of lifestyle a person has, it is therapeutic to share experiences with like-minded people. Studies show that support groups are beneficial for anyone looking for long-term recovery. People in recovery might choose to date a very different type of person when they first quit using as compared to when they have achieved a year of sobriety, observes Desloover. Recovering people often have learned to either shut down and hold in their emotions for fear of being hurt or to romanticize their relationships and fall in love at the first opportunity, without discriminating.

What are the two types of recovery?

There are two types of recovery: active and passive. Both recovery methods are important, and people may use one or the other at different points to suit their circumstances. In this article, we discuss the benefits of active recovery and how it differs from passive recovery.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are a problem in and of itself, but there is also a problem underlying the substance dependence. Without addressing the underlying issues and simply stopping substance use, it is like putting a band aid on severed limb.

Don’t bend the rules or try to negotiate your recovery.

Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use. Here are answers to common questions about the recovery process that you may not know. If your RAPID score 50 – 70, this is a normal score in early recovery.

Abusing illegal or certain prescription drugs can create changes in the brain, causing powerful cravings and a compulsion to use that makes sobriety seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems or how many times you’ve tried and failed before. With the right treatment and support, change is always possible. However, they are also still acutely aware of the benefits they perceive from alcohol or drug addiction. This is a critical stage for family members and treatment facilities because the person is more likely to listen to reason.

What Is the Difference Between Sobriety and Recovery?

If you habitually abuse drugs or alcohol, even if it looks different than your prior addictive behavior, you have relapsed. The longer you succumb to your addiction, the harder it will be to return to recovery, but a relapse does not prevent you from choosing sobriety again. Relapse can be prevented, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Please read our article about warning signs of relapse to learn more.

What are the 5 pillars of recovery?

  • Maintain rigorous honesty. In addiction, our lives were built upon lies and false narratives we told ourselves and others.
  • Expose your secrets.
  • Let go.
  • Remember you aren't alone.
  • Know you matter.

Being aware of the unrealistic expectations and the realities of addiction recovery can help you understand the process of treatment and ensure that you know what to expect. If you’re suffering from addiction, or you know someone who is, help is available. The following advice can help you no matter where you are in the recovery process. Stress is one of the most common risk factors for addiction and relapse. People who have been in recovery for years can relapse when life becomes stressful.

It’s time to measure addiction recovery rates, not just addiction rates

The first year of remission from a substance use disorder. Psychoactive substance that decreases levels of physiological or nervous system activity in the body decreasing alertness, attention, and energy through decreased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rates. Informally referred to as “downers” (e.g., alcohol; benzodiazepines, barbiturate). The contingency management approach, sometimes also referred to asmotivational incentives, the prize method,or thecarrot and stick method.It is based on the principle of operant conditioning – that behavior is shaped by its consequences.

If you or a one needs help with substance abuse, Recovery at the Crossroads can help you along every step of the way. During the action stage, the person has made significant changes in their lives and is committed to change. This stage of change is characterized by prolonged periods of abstinence and the inclination to turn to professionals for help before or after relapse. SMART Recovery has helped millions of people around the world beat their addictions and lead rich, happy, healthy lives. Our help is FREE and available to anybody with any addictive problem. Another damaging misconception is that everyone’s recovery looks the same. People tend to base their ideas on what recovery looks like on TV shows and movies, where you always see people sharing their stories in 12-step support groups.

If you slip, do you return to day one?

Chronic repeated use of opioids can lead to tolerance, physical dependence and addiction. Born out of the principles, practices, and structure of Alcoholics Anonymous , Narcotics Anonymous is an international fellowship for individuals with problematic drug use. NA is a nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical organization that is open to all ages, offering meetings in over 100 countries. NA is a 12-step program that revolves around its main text, known as theBasic Text.

  • If they do, it does not mean that recovery has failed; it just means that you may have hit a roadblock along the way in your journey.
  • Withdrawal from substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Etizolam, etc.) can even be deadly and/or cause seizures.
  • We provide integrated treatment for mental health disorders and addiction.
  • While this is a nice sentiment, human relationships are too complex to resolve that quickly.
  • It could also mean learning healthy coping strategies so that you are better equipped to face unpleasant emotions or memories without turning to drugs or alcohol.

Weight gain can lead to feeling depressed, and trigger thoughts that their substance use might help them lose the weight they have put on. Poor sleep-hygiene can leave individuals feeling irritable, stressed, anxious, and experience low mood, which can also trigger a relapse. It is important for individuals in recovery to eat well, exercise, meditate, have proper sleep-hygiene, and engage in other such self-care behaviors that support their mental wellness and addiction recovery. When you hear the word “recovery,” you might only think of someone who has an ongoing addiction to alcohol or drugs. Many individuals relapse within the first week of stopping their substance use in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, or thereafter due to post-acute withdrawal symptoms which can last for up to 6 to 18 months. Individuals with an alcohol or drug addiction will experience varying degrees of withdrawal symptoms when they stop using their substance of choice. Depending on the type of substance used, the quantity of use, the frequency of use, the duration of use, and other factors, withdrawal symptoms will be different on a case by case basis.

You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use or be denied medication for pain; if that happens, find another provider. Once you have resolved your underlying issues, you will, at times, continue to experience stress, loneliness, frustration, anger, shame, anxiety, and hopelessness. Finding ways to address these feelings as they arise is an essential component to your treatment and recovery. Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If you’re reluctant to turn to your loved ones because you’ve let them down before, consider going to relationship counseling or family therapy. Whether you have a problem with illegal or prescription drugs, addiction treatment should be customized to your unique situation. Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.


Researchers in the field of psychology have also found that one thing that brings people pleasure is finding meaning in their life (see #1). Studies reflect that those with greater meaning in their life find life more pleasurable, and also have greater psychological wellbeing. As such, individuals in recovery from addiction who have newfound meaning and purpose in life in turn may find life is pleasurable. Having a sense of meaning and purpose in life is extremely important to one’s general wellbeing and quality of life, impacting us physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, relationally, and every which way in-between.

Some common physiological withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, hot and cold sweats, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, and muscle aches to name a few. Withdrawal from substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Etizolam, etc.) can even be deadly and/or cause seizures. But in addition (did you read that as addiction?) to drastic life changes in all areas of life, recovery from addiction also teaches many valuable lessons. Below are just a handful of important lessons that can be learned through the addiction recovery process that have psychological undertones. Recovery from an alcohol use disorder requires effort, time, willpower, and support.

Regardless of the drug you experienced problems with, it’s important to stay away from prescription drugs with the potential for abuse or use only when necessary and with extreme caution. Drugs with a high abuse potential include painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medication.

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