The Secret Of Successful Addiction Recovery

Experts say that one addiction recovery program may have different outcomes for different people. Wondering what’s the secret of a successful addiction recovery? Read further to find out.

minute read

ARTICLE SUMMARY: Addiction recovery is defined individually, but there is one core concept that leads to success: individualized assessment and treatment. More ideas about addiction recovery and its success here.


First, Some Definitions

Q: What does the word “recovery” signify anyway?
A: It depends on who you are.

There are divided opinions among experts about how to explain the concept of addiction recovery. For some, recovery is simply abstinence or remaining sober, while for others it’s a lot more complex and multidimensional. There are even doubts over whether someone is “in recovery” if they’re on maintenance medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine.

Some addiction specialists don’t categorize individuals as “recovering” addicts if they use in moderation without harmful consequences after a sustained period of sobriety. Others see reduced harm as a type of “recovery” in an of itself.

We’re here propose a new idea: Addiction recovery means something different to everyone who’s participating in it. We are each individuals. Substances affect us different. Why should recovery be the same? In sum, there is a spectrum of adherence to standard ideology….from total abstinence to reduced drug intake. Just as we are all evolving, so is “addiction recovery”.

Still, there are some government standards that we can look to as guidelines.

SAMHSA’s Definition of Success

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help guide us to understanding what addiction recovery is. According to SAMHSA, recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and well-being, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. The government organization identifies 4 (four) characteristics which classify individuals as addicts in recovery:

  1. The ability to address problems as they happen, without using, and without getting stressed out.
  2. The existence of at least one person with whom the addict can be completely honest.
  3. The presence of personal boundaries and making clear distinctions which issues belong to the addict and which ones belong to others.
  4. The practice of taking the time to restore physical, mental and emotional energy.

For more information on how SAMHSA views addiction recovery, visit:

But what’s the secret to this successful recovery? Why do some people “get it” and others do not?


Let’s face it. Getting substances out of your system is just the beginning. To live a drug-free life, we’ve got to change the inner landscape. So, when people ask themselves what makes recovery so difficult, they need to look into the complexity of substance addiction itself.

Let’s start with the basics first.

Unfortunately, stigma still revolves around addiction. This is due to the fact that many people are not familiar with the way drugs impact a person’s brain and behavior. As a result of the stigma attached to addiction, the majority of substance abusers feel ashamed, guilty, and insecure to seek help and enter treatment.

In other words, the lack of education and motivation can makes recovery so difficult for some people.

Additionally, the recovery process itself involves the following difficulties for substance abusers:

  • Co-occurring mental disorders might require dual-diagnosis and parallel treatment.
  • Fear of failure and relapse.
  • Fear of triggers.
  • Transition from home to inpatient facility might be emotionally discomforting.
  • Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The Secret Of Success

In order to succeed in addiction recovery, you need to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment program. Each person responds differently to treatment phases and modalities.

So, we believe that the secret of success is careful assessment, evaluation, and recommendations for your treatment…that are personalized to you!

A successful recovery plan requires:

  • Clear guidelines to assessing treatment progress.
  • Clear, coherent theory of behavior change applied by counselors.
  • Constantly applying and upgrading science to addiction treatment.
  • Patient-counselor relationship based on trust.
  • The substance abuser 100% energy, motivation and devotion.
  • Well established after-care plan.

Where to Start

So, if you are facing addiction problems and consider entering treatment you need to know from where to start. Once you feel as if you need help and are ready to ask for it…call your family doctor. You can also call:

  • An addiction treatment center.
  • A licensed clinical worker.
  • A medical doctor who specializes in addiction.
  • A psychologist.
  • A psychiatrist.

Visit The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) physician finder . Additionally, if you are looking for treatment programs you can use the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) patient referral program.

A doctor’s referral to treatment is often required before you begin a formal treatment plan. Once you’re in the offfice, you can expect to discuss drug use patterns and you will likely go through screening. You may be asked to provide a urine or blood sample, and will likely go through an interview of about 30-45 minutes.

What’s also important to understand is that addiction recovery is a multiple step journey, it’s not something which can be achieved overnight, there is no any kind of medication or remedy that might work as a magic wand.

5 Things to Avoid

Battling with addiction is internal. It can be a mind game. So, here are some of the more common habits you should avoid if you want to life live without substances.

  1. Avoid doing things which make you feel bored. Boredom is one of the most common reasons for engaging in addiction. Find other things that can entertain you.
  2. Avoid shame. You can be your own worst enemy. Instead of guilt, learn to accept your addiction as a thing of the past and embrace it as a growing experience.
  3. Avoid isolation. Isolation contributes to feelings of loneliness and depression. Reach out to friends, family, and others in recovery for support.
  4. Avoid being in the state of denial. Addiction is a part of your life and only you can do something towards overcoming it.
  5. Avoid lying. The base of every successful addiction recovery is honesty.

An Extra Tip

If you want your treatment to work you need to believe that addiction is treatable. An effective addiction recovery program is designed to answer multiple needs, not just substance abuse. So, successful treatment should address medical, psychological, social and legal problems connected to your substance abuse. In order to be successful, your addiction recovery should match your age, gender, ethnicity, and culture as well.


Still have questions about how to achieve success in addiction recovery? In case you do, or would like to share your insights into this subject, please feel free to leave your comments below. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.

Reference sources: SAMHSA: Recovery and Recovery Support
Destination Recovery: What Makes Addiction So Complex and Hard To Overcome?
Addiction Search:Why is recovery so difficult for some addicts
Alcohol Rehab: Addiction Recovery Is As Hard As You Make It
NIH: What to Do If You Have a Problem with Drugs: For Adults
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?