There are also 12-step programs that target specific types of drug addictions, like Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and Heroin Anonymous (HA). All participants had attended 12-step meetings (Table 2); 90% were attending at the time the survey was taken. Median length of AA and NA membership were 12 years and 6 years, respectively. Current levels of affiliation were high as evidence by frequency of meeting attendance and sponsoring activities. While there is a large body of empirical data on the short-term effectiveness (1-2 years) of various treatment modalities, very little is known about the processes of recovery over time.

  • In fact, studies have shown that the post-acute withdrawal symptoms from some drugs and alcohol abuse can last for months or years.
  • Thirty-four eligible candidates were contacted; of these, four individuals refused participation.
  • Most people who want to recover go through an addiction treatment program.
  • Knowing relapse warning signs is a huge component of relapse prevention.

These self-perceptions provided support for consistent self-agency and flexibility in the face of life challenges. As the acute biological abstinence symptoms ended, most participants wanted to focus more on finding suitable meaningful activities. They often described individual or group psychotherapy as positive in this regard. However, many participants saw other, more practical treatment forms as more helpful. They described having been mentally and physically restless and tense.

Long Term Recovery: 5 Ways to Plan for Success

Along with exercise, maintaining a healthy diet can do wonders for one’s overall well-being. Consuming the right amount of nutrients can boost energy, help provide a clear mind, and much more. Additionally, decreasing foods high in sugar can help with avoiding mood swings and increase energy throughout the day.

long-term recovery

One of the key steps in improving long-term recovery is understanding what caused a person to use alcohol or drugs in the first place. Some people turn to substance abuse to self-medicate, while others rely on these substances to handle stressful situations. For many people with substance abuse, this stag may include a detox or enrollment in a treatment center or program. This stage also includes addressing many of the underlying causes of a person’s addiction.


I have over four years of experience helping individuals, couples, and families navigate life’s challenges, including mental health issues, addiction, trauma, grief, and other issues individuals may experience. I graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with my Bachelor’s Degree sober house in Social Work and then pursued my Masters in Clinical Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work. I have experience working in psychiatric hospitals, inpatient, outpatient, detox, and partial hospitalization programs providing clinical social work services.

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