Addiction recovery starts when an addict recognises they have a substance abuse problem they can’t control and  they’re motivated to get help. While detoxification will remove substances from an individual’s system, addiction is as much a psychological disorder as a physical dependence.

It is important those in recovery honestly evaluate all that contributes to their addiction, knowing that recovery happens both in a treatment facility and in the daily life of an addict. Recovery involves creating a life based on principals that promote sobriety, health and well-being.

A life free from addiction

Understanding the connections between the psychological, emotional and physical aspects of addiction are at the core of every recovery program. In order to break the habit of substance abuse it will be necessary to make changes in one’s attitudes and coping skills. Drugs not only change the way the brain works, but are often used to dull emotions. When thoughts and feelings begin returning after ceasing drug use, the ensuing clarity can be frightening to an addict. Early recovery can be a roller coaster of anxiety and emotional responses while an addict begins to confront their life again. The tools learned in treatment hopefully prepares a recovering addict for the challenges ahead, ensuring they have the help and support necessary to achieve freedom from addiction.

Drug relapse prevention

Staying sober requires more than the strength to say no to drugs. Good drug relapse prevention will prepare an individual from falling back into bad habits of using alcohol or drugs to deal with problems and stress. Relapse prevention is a cognitive-behavioural approach with the goal of identifying and preventing high-risk situations and understanding warning signs. Prevention begins before the opportunity for relapse occurs, with a plan for social interactions, emotional triggers and the development of day-to-day coping mechanisms.

Maintaining sobriety is not a solo operation. It is important recovering addicts interact on a regular basis with others who understand the nature of addiction and who can offer support. There are times when individuals are feeling isolated and having a set of tools to handle these situations will help. Relapse prevention techniques provide people with ways to re-frame habitual patterns. This paired with cognitive techniques and behavioural changes, including the use of lifestyle changes to promote better coping mechanisms, and keep sobriety as the 'new' way of life.