by Claire Foster
Is there a magical formula for lasting recovery? If only! Sobriety, as many people have learned the hard way, doesn’t come in a pill, a bottle, a can, or a prescription. After putting in the serious work of getting through a treatment program, it’s important to commit to long term change in order to keep on the path of lasting recovery.
Keep Your Eyes on The Prize. Sobriety happens one day at a time, but it really is a lifelong process of learning, practicing, and recovering. By thinking of recovery in terms of a long term commitment—a new relationship with yourself—you can improve your odds of staying sober and enjoying the healthy, fulfilling life you deserve. As you make decisions, think about how the outcome may affect your recovery.
Thinking about moving out of state? Making a dramatic career change? Ending a relationship that’s been very important? Before you make the leap, think about whether or not you’re setting yourself up to stay sober—or relapse. It’s impossible to predict the future, but after completing treatment, you should have a better idea of who you are, what matters to you, and what you can handle. Put your recovery first and the rest will follow.
Connect With a Like Minded Community. Windward Way cares about your long term recovery. We want you to succeed! That’s why we have a strong, supportive aftercare program to help you navigate life after treatment. By connecting with other Windward Way alumni, and finding like minded people in sober communities, such as 12 Step groups or faith based communities, you can help stoke your passion for your recovery. Recovery works best when it lasts. In communities of sober, recovered people, we can find great example of what is possible for us. We can also find a safe place to go when life is overwhelming, or when we feel like our sobriety is threatened.
Studies show overwhelmingly that post treatment support, especially in forming new relationships with other sober people, are what matter most. Being surrounded by other sober people can make that transition much easier. When “sober” becomes your new normal, you’re much more likely to stay in recovery.
If It Works, Keep Doing It. In treatment, you not only detoxed from drugs and alcohol. You picked up the tools of recovery, which will help you stay sober. From group and individual therapy, to substance related counseling, to physical fitness and meditation, you’ve already learned a lot about ways to cope with your substance abuse disorder. Now that you’ve graduated from treatment, those tools will still work—if you apply them.
Staying sober and maintaining your recovery isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s about figuring out what works for you and doing it. Maintaining a healthy self care routine that includes group support, meditation, exercise, and positive communication with your family might be the “magical formula” you need to keep sober. If it’s working, don’t change it—and if it’s not working, reach out for help and get some new tools to try.
Long term recovery is yours for the taking, and you deserve to enjoy the rewards of all the hard work you’ve done in treatment. Keep investing in your recovery by taking the long view, keeping in contact with other sober people, and learning about what works for you. There is no magical formula, but there is a secret ingredient: it’s you. Active participation in your own recovery ensures that you’ll keep on the right road, headed in the direction of healthy, lasting recovery.