How To Navigate Long Term Recovery

When an addict enters a traditional recovery program he will have to go through all the stages of the program for it to be effective. There are some addicts who have suffered addiction from drugs and alcohol for many years and were never treated for their addiction. These addicts have a history of established thought and behavior patterns that have kept them enslaved to addiction. A 30-day traditional recovery program is usually not enough treatment for these addicts. They will require a more intensive recovery model that will teach them to live long-term sober lives.

How To Navigate Long Term Recovery

Long-term treatment programs usually last from 2 to 12 months after the traditional recovery program has been completed. The addict is given in-depth group and individual counseling, total behavior modification therapy, family counseling and involvement, and other specialized therapies. Long-term recovery programs aim to address the initial reasons that led to drug or alcohol use. Many times addicts are childhood victims of neglect, abuse, other traumas, or they suffer from a mental disorder. Once the initial causes that led to addiction are identified they can be treated. Recovery from these problems is often an emotionally painful process for the addict. But eventually they are able to accept what has happened to them and begin to move on with their life.

It is Different for Everyone

All recovering addicts, regardless of how long they have been using, will have to learn how to navigate their long-term recovery. Recovery from drugs or alcohol requires that the addict is given enough time to heal. Each addict has their own unique history and their situation will differ from others. Some addicts will require more time than others to process their past hurts, traumas and disappointments and they will need ample time to make the necessary changes in their thought and behavior patterns too. They will be learning about addiction, recovery, their interaction with others, themselves and what makes them tick. Learning to identify weak spots in your thinking is important if you want to make permanent changes in your life.

Dealing with a Psychological Disorder

Drug and alcohol dependence is usually symptomatic of an underlying mental disorder. Many addicts suffer from mental disorders that adversely affect substance abuse and vice versa. Addicts who suffer from co-occurring mental disorders are often treated with medications, and they also learn how to manage their disorder. Learning how to manage a mental disorder in a healthy, effective way will help the addict avoid turning to drugs or alcohol as an escape. This will also require time and practice until the addict is well equipped and able to handle his problems effectively.

Drug and alcohol addiction both adversely affect an addict’s brain chemistry. They may experience sudden changes in behavior, mood swings, withdrawal from family and friends, weight loss, excitability or sedation, anxiety, shaking, dizziness, sweating, nervousness, mental confusion and impaired physical performance. Symptoms will vary depending on what type of drugs or alcohol an addict is using. There will also be a degeneration of overall health, and specific physical and mental diseases may begin to take root. Many of these problems will subsist in time, but some of the more severe ones will have to be treated with medications and counseling. It will take time for the brain to re-wire itself back to normal functioning. If there is permanent damage to some area of the brain, it will have to be treated and the addict will have to learn how to effectively compensate for the loss.

Getting the Care You Need

For addicts who need it, long-term recovery treatment programs have a high success rate. Long-term care is important for every recovering addict and it should not be neglected. Attending support group meetings and also speaking with your counselor or therapist is vital to successful recovery. Having a strong, healthy relationship with family and trusted friends is also important to an addict’s mental, emotional and physical health. Relapse prevention techniques should be first and foremost in an addict’s mind, so that they are immediately accessible when needed. A recovering addict should focus on building a new and better life, and fulfilling his goals and dreams. By staying strong physically, mentally and spiritually, the recovering addict should be able to manage any problem that might arise in the future.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.