Recovery from addiction
Is it possible to recover from a drug or alcohol problem?
Yes – every year tens of thousands of people successfully recover from their alcohol or drug problem and go on to lead fulfilled lives completely free from alcohol or drugs.
People can still occasionally struggle with the psychological hold of substances and many people experience recovery as a life-long process.
How do people recover?
There is no ‘right’ way to recover; everyone’s approach to recovery is unique. Some people successfully recover on their own, but lots of people choose to get treatment or support from a local addiction support service like change, grow, live (CGL). That support could include (but is not limited to):
- A detox at either a dedicated ‘rehab’ centre or in the community
- Group or one-to-one recovery support sessions with a recovery professional
- Activities to help build confidence and self-esteem
- Use of a special programme such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- A medically-supported recovery where an opiate substitute is prescribed
- Peer support groups run in the community
- Harm reduction advice, which supports people to use drugs or alcohol more safely. This is often an essential pre-requisite to someone taking the next step in their recovery
It’s important that people take recovery at their own pace, and are supported to use any approach that works for them to have the best chance of achieving lasting recovery.
If I lapse, does that mean I can’t recover?
No. Many people will lapse during their recovery, sometimes multiple times, and go on to live a life completely free from alcohol or drugs. Part of your support will be looking at ways to prevent lapse by identifying your triggers and helping you to avoid these. You might also want to look at different support options which might be better suited to your needs.
How can I support someone in recovery?
The best way to understand how to support someone in recovery is to ask them, as it varies depending on the individual. Many people who are abstinent prefer not to be around alcohol or drugs at all. This may mean maintaining a substance-free home and participating in activities where there are unlikely to be alcohol or drugs available. You may also want to do some reading around substance misuse – there are a huge range of excellent websites and resources including FRANK, NHS Choices and Adfam.
Understanding the triggers of the person you care about can also be useful in helping to create an environment which minimises the possibility of a lapse. Periods of extreme stress can be a common cause for a lapse, so simply being aware and especially supportive at those times, may be helpful.
Finally, make sure you’re getting support yourself to help look after your mental and emotional health. By taking care of yourself you’ll be in a much better position to support others. You can get support for you and your family by searching for your nearest change, grow, live service here.
What does visible recovery mean?
People who are in visible recovery are open about the fact they have struggled with alcohol or drug problems in the past. This is something which is widely celebrated throughout the recovery community, not least because disclosing past drug and alcohol problems can be very stigmatising. Many of the real stories featured on change, grow, live’s website are from people who practice visible recovery because they want to encourage more people to get the support they need. Their stories also help to tackle the fear and misinformation that are still so prevalent around this issue.
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