People who have successfully overcome a drug or alcohol use disorder usually refer to themselves as being in “addiction recovery.” But what is addiction recovery, exactly? While abstaining from drugs and alcohol is key to this process, there’s so much more that goes into staying sober. As a recovery advocate himself, Brandon Novak can attest to this fact. So let’s look into what it means to be in addiction recovery.
The definition of recovery from addiction is complex, but basically, it refers to the period in which a person with a substance use disorder abstains from drugs or alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Commission (SAMHSA) and other organizations in the behavioral healthcare community have also partnered to come up with this definition: “a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”1
SAMHSA also defined some other major points in defining addiction recovery, including:
Addiction recovery isn’t just about deciding to quit drugs and alcohol, but it also requires the person’s relationships, home environment, and even employment to change so they may support these changes. This is why many people seek aftercare services or attend 12 step meetings to help them stay on track after rehab.
Along with a working definition of addiction recovery, the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) also defines 12 guiding principles of recovery:
These are similar to the SAMHSA guiding principles of recovery.
When answering “what is addiction recovery?” you also have to take the definition of sobriety into account. Sobriety refers to the complete abstinence from alcohol and non-prescribed drugs. Sobriety is usually the first step of recovery, but not the only one.
There is no clear answer to what the stages of addiction recovery are, but they do include:
Addiction recovery is not just about quitting drugs or alcohol. It also includes building a life that supports your sobriety. In recovery, you’re meant to take all of the tools and skills you learned during addiction treatment to become healthier, improve your relationships, and become a productive member of society.
If you’re in recovery, here are some addiction recovery tips to keep in mind:
Brandon Novak is a recovery advocate that struggled with a heroin addiction himself. After years of trying to commit to sobriety, he finally succeeded. While it took him a while, today, as a certified intervention specialist, he dedicates his time to helping families find their loved one's addiction treatment.
If you’re searching for drug treatment or want to look into a sober living facility to help you transition to a sober lifestyle after rehab, Brandon can help. Call him today at (610) 314-6747 to learn more about his sober living facility, Novak’s House.