Vital FIeld

Overcoming Active Addiction: Strategies for Healing and Rebuilding Your Life

When seeking treatment to overcoming active addiction for yourself or a loved one, figuring out where to start can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. First and most importantly, remember that recovery is possible. Countless people have successfully overcome their substance addiction and gone on to lead fulfilling lives. Yes, the journey to recovery can be challenging, but it is also an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. With the right support, resources, and mindset, anyone can start overcoming active addiction and reclaim control of their life.

Table of contents

  1. Definition of Addiction
  2. The Importance of Overcoming Addiction
  3. The Impact of Active Addiction
  4. Strategies for Coping with Active Addiction
  5. Healing from Addiction
  6. Rebuilding your Life after Addiction
  7. Maintaining Sobriety
  8. Conclusion
  9. Resources for Path of Recovery

Definition of Addiction

Red chain on beach

If you ask various people to define addiction, you will likely hear a range of answers. Substance abuse can look very different in the eyes of those addicted and in those who have not been directly impacted by it.

Merriam-Webster defines addiction as the “compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.”

This textbook definition rings true to many of those facing the disease, and can serve as a “wake-up call” and critical first step toward admitting there is a problem.

While there are other forms of addiction–such as gambling, sex, internet use, thrill-seeking activities, shopping, food, and overworking, to name a few–that can be equally as detrimental, this guide will focus on active addictions from substances.

Substance dependence is characterized by an intense craving for the substance, withdrawal symptoms when it is not used, and a lack of control over its use. It is a complex and debilitating condition that requires specialized treatment and support for recovery.

The Importance of Overcoming Active Addiction

person walking towards the sun

Addressing and overcoming active addiction is crucial for leading a healthy and fulfilling life. It requires a combination of professional support, healthy coping mechanisms, self-awareness, and a strong commitment to change. The fact that you are reading this now is a great indicator that you are ready to make a change!

The purpose of this guide is to provide an in-depth understanding of the causes, and the available resources for overcoming active addiction. This article aims to educate and empower those who are struggling with addiction by providing practical strategies and tools for recovery.

Whether you are seeking help for yourself or want to help a loved one, this guide will offer valuable insights and guidance for a successful journey towards recovery. Below, we’ll explore the far-reaching impact of addiction and how it can affect various aspects of one’s life.

By understanding these consequences, you can better appreciate the critical importance of overcoming addiction and begin the journey towards a fulfilling, sober lifestyle.

The Impact of Active Addiction

Addiction can have a far-reaching impact on all aspects of one’s life, which is compounded by the fact that “the disease is chronic and lifelong”, according to addiction specialist and professor at the University of Buffalo, Professor Blondell.

Below, we explore the ways in which addiction can impact an individual’s physical health, mental and emotional well-being, social relationships, and financial stability.

Physical Impact

infected leaf

Substance use can have severe and long-lasting impacts on physical health, with addiction increasing the risk of a variety of health problems including liver damage, heart disease, and respiratory issues. For example, tobacco use is a significant risk factor for lung cancer, while excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis.

Addiction in terms of drugs can damage multiple organs, such as the heart, kidneys, and brain. Individuals with substance use disorders may also be at greater risk for infections and illnesses due to weakened immune systems, and may engage in risky behaviors like sharing needles or having unprotected sex, which can increase their risk of HIV and other infections.

Substance use can also lead to accidents and unintentional injuries, such as car accidents or accidental overdose.

Mental and Emotional Impact

Red haired woman standing outside

Addiction can have a profound impact on mental and emotional health. It can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, as well as exacerbate existing conditions.

Feelings of shame and guilt are very common among individuals struggling with addiction, and these emotions can contribute to a significant decrease in self-worth. The stigma and negative stereotypes associated with addiction can lead people to feel as though they are flawed or weak, even though addiction is a very complex disease that can affect anyone (and by that we mean anyone).

As substance use escalates, the addict may feel increasingly isolated and disconnected from others, which can exacerbate feelings of shame and low self-esteem. These emotions may create a self-perpetuating cycle of addiction, as the addict turns to drugs or alcohol to numb their emotional pain and escape their negative self-perceptions.

Financial Impact

empty bird nest

Active addiction can have a significant financial impact too. The cost of obtaining drugs, alcohol, or tobacco can add up quickly, leading to debt and financial strain for someone who may already be struggling to make ends meet.

A six-pack of beer can cost between $6 and $15, while a bottle of hard liquor can cost upwards of $30 or more, depending on the brand and quality. Similarly, the cost of illicit drugs can be staggering. For example, a daily heroin habit can cost upwards of $150 per day, while cocaine can cost $60-$200 per gram, depending on the location and quality of the drug.

Even the cost of a pack of cigarettes per day can easily add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per year, depending on the location and cost of the cigarettes. These costs can quickly lead to financial strain and may cause individuals to resort to desperate measures to obtain the substance, such as theft, prostitution, or other illegal activities.

In addition to the direct costs of the substance itself, substance dependence can lead to decreased earning potential due to employment problems. Individuals with substance use disorders may have difficulty finding and keeping jobs, which can lead to decreased income and financial difficulties.

Substance use can also lead to decreased productivity at work, due to absenteeism, presenteeism (being present at work but not fully functioning), or poor job performance. This can lead to financial difficulties, as addicts may be unable to meet financial obligations such as rent, bills, or loan payments.

Social Impact

damaged teddy bear on sitting by window

The social impact of addiction can also be devastating. It can strain relationships with friends and family, leading to isolation and loneliness. Friends and family members may also distance themselves from the individual due to their behavior or to protect themselves from the negative effects of substance abuse.

As mentioned above, addiction can also lead to employment problems, resulting in decreased financial stability. In some cases, someone struggling with substance dependence may turn to crime to fund their addiction or experience legal problems due to their behavior while under the influence. The social impact of addiction can have long-lasting effects on people and their loved ones, making it all the more important to seek treatment and support.

It is crucial to acknowledge the wide-ranging impact of addiction to seek help in overcoming this condition. Through a combination of evidence-based treatments, support from loved ones, and personal determination, it is possible to fight addiction now. Taking the necessary steps to achieve lasting recovery will help rebuild a fulfilling and healthy life.

Strategies for Coping with Active Addiction

The first step to overcoming active addiction is understanding the root cause – which emotions, situations, and traumas drive someone towards substances in the first place?

And then: How can he or she cope with these stressors without the familiar comfort of drugs or alcohol?

In the interest of full transparency, unfortunately, most recovering addicts are not equipped with the tools and skills needed to maintain long-term recovery. It is estimated that 40% to 60% of addicts will relapse within a year even after completing an addiction treatment program. This is why healthy coping strategies must be implemented, especially in the beginning stages of treatment.

Below, you’ll find out why developing healthy coping skills is key to preventing substance use and overcoming active addiction.

Identifying Triggers and Developing a Plan

burning matches

By being proactive and identifying the specific situations, people, or emotions that trigger substance use, those in treatment can start overcoming active addiction and develop coping mechanisms to these triggers.

To identify triggers, it is important to keep track of one’s substance use and note any patterns or commonalities in use. This can be done through journaling or use of a substance use tracking app. Once triggers are identified, the next step is to develop a plan to tackle them.

This plan might include finding alternative ways to cope with stress or difficult emotions, avoiding situations or people that may trigger substance use, and seeking support from a therapist or support group.

The process forces you to look inward, which may be difficult but is a step of utmost importance in achieving long-term recovery. By taking proactive steps towards addressing the underlying causes of substance abuse, you can break free from the cycle of addiction and lead a fulfilling life in sobriety.

Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Cravings

cheese on a mouse trap

Cravings. We all have them, and the brain cravings trigger the same response no matter if it’s a piece of chocolate or a cigarette.

One of the most effective coping mechanisms for dealing with cravings is distraction:

Engaging in an activity that requires full concentration, such as exercise, reading, or a hobby, can help take the mind off the craving and redirect focus to a healthier alternative. It is helpful to have a list of go-to activities that can be done at a moment’s notice, such as going for a walk, calling a friend, or practicing deep breathing exercises.

Practicing mindfulness involves being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judgment. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga, can help individuals develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-control, making it easier to resist cravings.

Seeking support from a therapist or support group can also be a powerful coping mechanism. Talking to others who have experienced similar struggles and receiving guidance from a trained professional can provide individuals with the emotional support and resources they need to manage their cravings effectively and overcoming active addiction. It feels good to know you are not alone and that your struggles are understood. This leads us to our next strategy: finding your tribe.

Building a Strong Support System

teddy bears hugging

Building a strong support system is one of the most essential components to a successful recovery. Sober relationships can provide a supportive network of people who understand and relate to your treatment journey, such as counselors, as well as friends and family members who may not fully comprehend your experiences, but still offer valuable support. These connections can help you transition confidently back into sober living.

These support systems can be broadly categorized into two types: those focused on personal relationships and those focused on recovery.

Personal support systems may include:

  • Family members and relatives
  • Friends
  • Members of organizations you’re already part of, like churches or social groups

For personal support systems, ensure the people you chose to include are positive examples, are uplifting and encouraging, and have the time to listen and offer support when needed.

Recovery support systems are groups designed specifically for those overcoming active addiction, such as:

While coping with cravings during recovery can be difficult, there are effective mechanisms that can help you overcome them. By engaging in enjoyable activities, practicing mindfulness, and seeking support from others, you can successfully manage your cravings and maintain your sobriety.

“Your early sobriety may be fragile and will require a supportive network of friends, family, and professional care providers. Take a look at your existing network and identify those who might contribute positively to your journey and those who might not. You may find that someone from your old network is not helpful, or may even be destructive to your recovery. For example, those who engage in substance use and actively encourage you to partake are not going to help you stay on the path of sobriety. It’s a good idea to steer clear of these folks, at least at the beginning of your recovery journey. Instead, seek people who model sobriety, who will be empathetic and supportive of your decision, and who will be available if you need someone to talk to or to spend time with if you’re experiencing cravings or other difficulties. Many people in recovery find that groups such as AA or NA or online communities are really helpful in this regard, because they provide tools, resources, mutual support, and a safe place as you navigate sobriety.”

~Jenepher Lennox Terrion, PhD 
Adolescent Addiction & Recovery Specialist
Professor, University of Ottawa

Healing from Addiction

sun shining into a cavern

The process for healing from active addiction is very similar to healing from an injury or other illness. It requires rest, understanding your limitations, patience, and positive thinking. It also helps to understand what led to the addiction in the first place. This is where healing begins.

Understanding the Root Causes of Active Addiction

There are many factors that can contribute to active addiction, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and underlying mental health conditions. Active addiction often co-occurs with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma, and it is important to address these conditions as part of the recovery process.

Addiction can also be triggered by stress, peer pressure, or the desire to cope with difficult emotions or situations. Understanding the underlying factors that contribute to addiction is crucial in developing a comprehensive and effective treatment plan.

Therapy and Treatment Options

group of friend holding hands in a circle

Just like with an injury or illness, exploring your treatment options is a vital part of the healing process. Therapy and treatment options can be incredibly beneficial for you when recovering from substance abuse: Taking the step to seek help is a courageous and important first step towards a healthier and happier life.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

There are many different types of therapy available, each with its own unique benefits. One popular option is cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people recognize and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. This type of therapy can be particularly helpful in addressing the root causes of substance abuse and preventing relapse.

Group Therapy

Another effective treatment option is group therapy, where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

Group therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for sharing struggles and successes, and can be a powerful source of motivation and encouragement. It’s always helpful to feel heard and understood by those who understand exactly what you are going through.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

For those struggling with more severe addictions, inpatient treatment may be necessary. Inpatient treatment programs provide round-the-clock care and support, allowing addicts to focus solely on their recovery in a safe and structured environment.

woman sitting on a large stone in a forest

Because these programs are isolated from negative influences and triggers, many who have not found success with outpatient treatment find this to be very helpful as they begin healing from addiction to substances.

Balance Cell

As proponents of natural medicine, we encourage those seeking to overcoming active addiction to try various holistic modalities, such as frequency therapy. Many who seek 100% natural and chemical-free ways to reduce cravings have found the Balance Cell to be beneficial. This tiny wearable device by FrequenCell has been developed to address the needs of those needing support on the path to overcoming addiction by stimulating brain areas that lead to addiction and dependency while forming necessary messengers such as GABA, dopamine, and oxytocin.

Natural stimulation of these brain chemicals are shown to mimic the “reward” effects of substances, leading to fewer, or in some cases all cravings.

No matter which therapy or treatment option you choose, it’s important to remember that recovery is a journey, and there will be ups and downs along the way: However, believe it or not, overcoming addiction is absolutely achievable. With the proper support and a can-do attitude, you can be among those who triumph over the disease.

Self-Care Practices

brown haired woman enjoying nature

We’ve all heard the saying “self-care isn’t selfish” – nothing can be more true when overcoming active addiction.

Along with taking pride in your appearance and eating healthy foods, this is the time to focus solely on your recovery by engaging in therapeutic activities, spending time with supportive people, and pursuing hobbies that bring you joy and help you cope with stress. In other words, surround yourself with the people, things, and activities that make you feel good.

Look back on the hobbies and leisure pursuits you enjoyed before addiction took hold of your life. Slowly re-introducing these into your daily routine triggers the reward center of the brain, which helps reduce cravings and makes the road to recovery much smoother, more enjoyable, and as a result, reduces the chances of relapse.

Spending time in nature is also an essential part of self-care that should not be overlooked if you want to prioritize your well-being. Immersing yourself in nature is one of the best ways to nurture your mind, body, and soul, and find joy in your daily life.

Rebuilding Your Life After Addiction

Many who have successfully ended the cycle of addiction say they now see their life through two different lenses: before addiction, and after recovery.

Much like after a natural disaster, it’s necessary to rebuild from the ground up and start fresh with a new attitude and goals, a new sober, supportive tribe, and brand new healthy habits.

This is an exciting opportunity to build a life as you want it! Here are some steps you can take to get started:

Setting and Achieving Goals

middle aged man writing in his notebook

Setting clear, achievable goals for recovery can help you stay focused and motivated during your journey. This can include goals related to reducing substance use or rebuilding relationships with friends and family. Goals provide a sense of purpose and direction, and help focus attention and energy on positive outcomes.

Without clear goals, it can be easy to feel lost or directionless, which can increase the risk of relapse.

“The re-occurrence of a symptomatic substance use disorder that had been in remission can be an extremely difficult time in the life of the individual suffering from a substance use disorder. People can become discouraged and, in some cases, the risk of suicide may need to be addressed.”

-Richard D. Blondell, MD
Professor Emeritus
Department of Family Medicine
University at Buffalo

This is why having a clear vision of what you want to achieve is absolutely crucial. With a well-defined and specific idea of your desired outcome, you are more likely to stay focused and motivated, even when faced with challenges. For instance, when in recovery you might set a goal to run a 5K race, which will give you something to work towards and help you stay committed to your exercise routine.

Direction and motivation

Setting goals in recovery can help build a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. Achieving a goal, no matter how small, can be a powerful reminder of your abilities and strengths! This can be especially important for those struggling with low self-esteem or confidence as a result of their addiction.

For example, someone in recovery might set a goal to learn a new skill or hobby, such as painting or playing a musical instrument. By achieving this goal, they not only develop a new talent, but they also build a sense of pride and self-worth that can help them stay sober over the long term.

Goal setting in recovery can indeed be a very effective strategy for overcoming active addiction. Goals provide direction, motivation, and a sense of accomplishment, which can help those in treatment stay focused on their recovery and build a stronger sense of self.

By setting and achieving meaningful goals when in recovery, you can increase your confidence and resilience, and create a foundation for a healthy and fulfilling life in sobriety.

Staying Accountable

Maintaining focus and commitment to recovery is a challenging journey, but it’s easier with the support of loved ones and accountability partners. If you’re striving for a healthy and fulfilling life, accountability is not only essential but also key, especially during the recovery process.

asian woman facing herself through a mirror

Having a network of friends, family, and counselors who hold you accountable for your thoughts and actions can be the foundation for your success.

At the beginning stages of recovery, accountability might not always be easy, but can be a real game changer. And during your time in treatment, accountability is the key to your recovery success. By taking responsibility for your actions and acknowledging your faults, you’ll learn how to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and stay sober after treatment.

It’s important to remember that accountability is not about being perfect. It’s about being honest with yourself and others when you slip up and taking steps to get back on track. If you stumble on your journey towards recovery, don’t give up. Instead, use the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Remember that setbacks are a natural part of the process, and with the support of your accountability network, you can overcome them and continue on the path to a healthy and fulfilling life. Keep pushing forward and remember that every small step counts towards your ultimate success.

Don’t let accountability be a roadblock on your path to success. Embrace it, and you’ll be on your way to overcoming active addiction and achieving the life you’ve always wanted.

Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

Middle aged woman enjoying morning coffee at home

Surrounding yourself with a wellness-centered environment is highly beneficial for a successful and lasting recovery. Here are some lifestyle changes you can implement:

Improve your nutrition:

Eating a healthy diet can help improve your physical and mental health, boost your energy levels, and reduce cravings. Healing starts from the inside, and fueling your body with whole, nutritious foods is a great way to support yourself through this transition to healthy living.

Exercise regularly:

Regular physical activity can help relieve stress, improve mood, and increase endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood elevators. When you feel strong and healthy, you feel like you can conquer any goal–including staying sober.

Get adequate sleep:

We all know that good quality sleep is important for both physical and mental health.Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, aiming to fall asleep and wake up around the same time each day. A well-rested body and mind is necessary for looking and feeling your best.

Find new activities and hobbies:

Replace your active addiction with healthier, positive ones such as sports, volunteering, or creative pursuits. As mentioned, flooding your brain’s reward center through activities that bring joy and fulfillment mimics the effects of the substance. Which leads to fewer cravings. Many find that becoming a sponsor or sober companion for others overcoming active addiction is an incredibly fulfilling way to find purpose in their new life.

Avoid triggers:

Identify the people, places, and activities that trigger your cravings and try to avoid them as much as possible. Remember that experiencing triggers in recovery is not a sign of failure. Simply acknowledge the trigger, recognize you have the power to say no, and promptly remove yourself from the situation.

Woman and dog on cliff starring down the horizon

One area that is particularly beneficial during this process is improving physical and mental health. It’s been proven that engaging in physical activity has many benefits such as:

Better moods:

When you feel good, everything else seems to fall into place. Staying active eliminates the search for an “escape” through substances. Living in a state of a “natural high” is achieved when you feel strong, fit, and healthy.

Reducing stress:

Stress is said to be a common trigger for those struggling with addiction. Engaging in physical activities such as working out at the gym, playing group sports, or going for a run around your neighborhood are healthy ways to distract yourself when cravings hit.

Boosting self-esteem:

It’s very common to be hard on yourself for allowing substances to overtake your life. Regular physical activity plays a large role in healing your body. And that’s something that you can feel good about!

Similarly, focusing on your mental health can help with:

Developing healthier coping mechanisms:

By implementing some of the coping mechanisms mentioned in this guide, a greater sense of self-awareness is achieved. Which makes it easier to resist cravings.

Addressing underlying emotional issues:

Many with a substance addiction also struggle with an underlying issue such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. This often is the result from various forms of emotional or physical abuse. Continued therapy helps to manage difficult emotions without turning to drugs and alcohol.

Gaining a sense of control over your life:

Next is another common feeling experienced by those who struggle with overcoming active addiction. The sense of not being in control of their own life. By focusing on improving your mental health, you naturally develop a greater sense of self-awareness and self-control. It’s a powerful thing!

Rebuilding Relationships

Broken ceramics bowl

Rebuilding relationships with friends and family after recovery from substance abuse is a crucial step in the healing process. While it can be challenging, it’s important to take the necessary steps to mend any broken relationships and regain trust. Read on for some ways you can rebuild your close relationships:

Be honest and transparent:

It’s essential to be honest and transparent with your loved ones about your recovery journey. Be upfront about any mistakes you may have made in the past. And what you’re doing to ensure they won’t happen again. This can help rebuild trust and create a solid foundation for your relationships.

Take responsibility for your actions:

Taking responsibility for your actions can be a difficult but necessary step in rebuilding relationships. Acknowledge any harm or pain you may have caused those close to you and apologize with sincerity. It shows that you’re committed to making things right and can help ease any tension.

Show your commitment to recovery:

Actions speak louder than words. Show the people you love that you’re committed to your recovery. This can be done by attending support groups, therapy, or any other treatment programs. It demonstrates that you’re taking your recovery seriously and are willing to do what it takes to start overcoming active addiction.

Be patient:

Rebuilding relationships takes time and patience. Understand that people close to you may still be hurt and may need time to process and forgive. Remember–your addiction has affected them as well. Be patient and respectful of their feelings, and continue to show your commitment to recovery.

Find common ground:

Finding common ground can help rebuild relationships and create new shared experiences. Identify activities or hobbies that you and your loved ones enjoy and participate in them together. It can help create positive memories and strengthen your relationships.

“It may take years for the individual recovering from a substance use disorder to rebuild the relationships in their lives. Friends or family members of those suffering from a substance use disorder may find attending self-help groups such as Al-Anon to be helpful. Help may also come from unlikely places. For example, individuals with a substance use disorder tend to make a mess of their finances. Working with a financial planner can be helpful in getting their finances back on track, which, in turn, may also benefit their recovery from a substance use disorder.”

~Richard D. Blondell, MD
Addiction Specialist
Professor, University at Buffalo

By following the suggestions above, you can begin to rebuild relationships with people close to you and create a support system that will help you maintain your sobriety. Recovery is a long journey, and it’s never too late to start repairing your relationships!

Your friends and family mourned the loss of the person you were before addiction took hold of your life. Be patient and give them the time they need to regain trust. With commitment, patience, and an open heart, you can rebuild your relationships and create a positive, supportive network that will help you stay on the path to recovery.

Maintaining Sobriety

Sobriety can bring about a range of positive changes in a person’s life. Although life before substances is not always perfect or easy, many long for the wonderful and beautiful experiences they had before addiction took hold of their lives.

Man walking on a field during sunset

Here are some areas one can look forward to on the path to achieving and maintaining sobriety:

Improved Physical and Mental Health

As the body begins to heal from the damaging effects of substance use, you can experience increased energy, better sleep, and improved overall health. And in addition, sobriety can help alleviate mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, and promote a greater sense of overall well-being.

Stronger Relationships

Sobriety can help you rebuild and strengthen relationships with loved ones. By overcoming substance dependence, you can demonstrate your commitment to your relationships and work towards rebuilding trust and intimacy.

Financial Stability

Sobriety can bring financial stability, as you will be able to focus on your career and increase your earning potential. In addition, sobriety can help you reduce or eliminate debt related to substance use and manage your finances more effectively.

Increased Happiness and Fulfillment

As you will be able to pursue your passions and interests free from the constraints of substance dependence, you can enjoy increased happiness and fulfillment, greater purpose and meaning.

By committing to recovery, focusing on your personal growth and development, and working towards lasting sobriety, you can build a foundation for a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

Here are some tips to help you stay accountable and motivated throughout your recovery journey:

Set realistic and measurable goals:

It’s essential to set achievable and measurable goals to avoid becoming overwhelmed or discouraged. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, and time-bound. For example, instead of setting a broad goal like “stay sober,” set a specific goal such as “attend two recovery meetings per week for the next month.”

Create a sober support network:

Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you to stay accountable. Join a support group or connect with a trusted friend or family member who understands your situation and can provide a listening ear or words of encouragement when you need it most.

Ceramics learning class

Keep a journal:

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you stay accountable and track your progress. Consider keeping a daily journal to document your achievements, setbacks, and any challenges you faced. This will help you identify patterns and triggers that may hinder your progress and develop strategies to overcome them.

Celebrate your progress:

Celebrate your milestones, no matter how small they may seem. Celebrating your achievements can help you stay motivated and reinforce the positive changes you’ve made. Treat yourself to a favorite meal, take a day off work, or do something you enjoy. Even the smallest achievements deserve to be celebrated!

By implementing these tips, you can stay accountable and motivated in achieving your goals, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. Remember to focus on progress, not perfection, and celebrate your achievements along the way. With consistency, dedication, and a positive mindset, you can achieve your goals and live a healthy, fulfilling life in recovery.

Coping with Relapse

Experiencing a relapse during recovery from substance abuse can be a challenging and emotional setback, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t define your journey towards recovery.

Relapse is a common occurrence, and it’s extremely important to have a plan in place to cope with it when it happens. Here are some tips to help you cope with relapse during your recovery:

Man with hoodie on enjoying the sea view

Reach out for help:

It’s essential to reach out for support when experiencing a relapse. Contact your support group, therapist, or sponsor immediately and let them know what happened. Talking to someone can help you process your emotions. This can lead to regaining your motivation, and developing a plan to get back on track.

Identify your relapse triggers:

Identify the triggers or situations that led to your relapse. Then develop strategies to avoid or manage them in the future. For example, if stress is a trigger, consider incorporating stress-management techniques into your daily routine. If someone in your life consistently triggers your addictive behavior, you could try to remove them from your social group.

Practice self-compassion:

Be kind and compassionate to yourself during this time. Relapse can be emotionally challenging, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a sign of failure. Recognize the progress you’ve made, and focus on the positive steps you can take to get back on track.

Stay motivated:

Refocus your energy on your recovery goals and stay motivated to continue your journey. Remind yourself of the benefits of sobriety and the progress you’ve made so far. Celebrate your small victories, and keep moving forward one step at a time.

Evaluate your treatment plan:

Consider reevaluating your treatment plan and adjusting it to better meet your needs. Your plan may include modifying your therapy sessions or exploring alternative treatment options.

Remember, relapse is a common occurrence in the recovery journey, and it doesn’t define your success. By reaching out for support, identifying triggers, practicing self-compassion, staying motivated, and reevaluating your treatment plan. You can cope with a relapse and continue on your path towards sobriety.

Developing a Long-Term Support Plan

Woman writing in her notebook

Creating a long-term success plan for staying sober after addiction treatment is an essential step towards achieving lasting recovery.

As mentioned earlier, out of those in recovery, approximately half will relapse within a year. But why? Just like with any goal or lifestyle change, it is difficult to maintain the same inertia and positive mindset that you had in the beginning.

You may find yourself feeling very in control and decide to skip an AA meeting that week. An old friend who is still using substances reaches out and begs to be part of your life again. Or, you could receive some bad news that makes it very hard to resist turning to a substance for comfort.

All of these scenarios are things that can derail weeks, months, or even years of hard work and discipline. 

Stay on track

So, how can you keep yourself on track in the long run? First, staying focused and committed to the strategies for overcoming your addiction at the beginning of your recovery helps with staying committed for the long-term.

Therapy and support group meetings will likely be a regular fixture in your new sober life. The healthy habits you formed to aid in recovery are now a part of your daily routine.

You cannot abandon the strategies that helped to end your active addiction and expect to stay sober – just like a person on a diet can’t expect their weight loss to be permanent if they return to their old eating habits. 

The most important factor in ending the cycle of addiction is to know when to ask for help. While asking someone for help seems easy enough, many people in recovery can struggle with this. They may be worried that their loved ones haven’t forgiven them or are just too proud to admit they need the support. 

Having the strength to ask for help while in recovery could be the difference between lasting sobriety and relapse.

Be honest with yourself and admit that you are human:

Humans are not perfect. We need others to help raise us when we feel weak. This is nothing to feel ashamed of–knowing when to ask for help is actually a sign of intelligence and strength. Recovery is a lifelong commitment, and your loved ones want nothing more than to see you succeed.

Celebrating Successes

Three young women enjoying ice-cream and laughing

When you’re in recovery from substance abuse, each milestone and success is an important step towards a healthier, happier life. Even the ones that seem small deserve to be recognized and rewarded. Celebrating these achievements can help you stay motivated and reinforce the positive changes you’re making. Below are some ways to celebrate your progress and successes in a way that supports your recovery–and feel free to add anything that brings you joy.

Share the news

Whether it’s with your family, your support group, or your therapist, sharing your success with others can be a powerful way to reinforce your progress, not to mention keeping yourself accountable. This can also inspire others who are on a similar journey.

Treat yourself

It’s important to reward yourself for the hard work you’re doing. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, whether it’s a movie, a new book, a massage, or a special meal. Choose rewards for yourself that match the size or impact of your milestones. As the milestones get bigger and sobriety lasts longer, the rewards or celebrations can grow along with them.

Make a gratitude list

Take some time to reflect on the positive things that have come out of your recovery journey. Write them down in a journal or make a list on your phone. This can help you stay focused on the good things in your life and give you a boost of positivity when you’re feeling down or anxious.


Helping others can be a powerful way to feel good about yourself and your progress. Find a local organization that needs volunteers and offer your time and skills. Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll also be building your own self-esteem–which is incredibly rewarding.

Remember, recovery is a journey, and each step forward is an important one. By acknowledging and celebrating your successes, you can stay motivated and continue to make positive changes in your life.


Hiker enjoying nature from a cliff

Overcoming active addiction is a long journey that requires determination, commitment, and the right tools and support. Understanding the impacts and the strategies for overcoming active addiction can be empowering for anyone seeking recovery.

If you’re struggling with addiction, remember that recovery is very possible and that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help. This includes support groups, therapy, counseling, and a combination of alternative therapies and medication-assisted treatments. Seeking help from a professional is a critical step in the journey to recovery. Essential as it can provide the resources needed to overcome your dependence.

In addition to seeking professional help, implementing the strategies outlined in this guide are vital tactics for overcoming active addiction. Most importantly, your own will and commitment to get back to living a life before substances is the crucial first step when choosing to fight addiction.

By incorporating these strategies into your recovery journey, you can gain the confidence and support. Important factor which you need to achieve lasting recovery and a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

Resources to Find Encouragement and Motivation for Continuing on the Path of Recovery

As a company with a mission to educate, inform, and provide resources and products that help people live life to their fullest potential, substance addiction is a topic that is near and dear to us.

Our team at FrequenCell has gathered a list of organizations and digital resources that support those working toward recovery and offer advice to their support networks on how to aid in the process.


Website with “Pro-Corner” blog from professionals writing about recovery topics and with a help line maintained by American Addiction Centers’ Recovery Brands.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety:

Nonprofit network of local groups with in-person and online meetings to help those living with alcohol and drug addiction.


Organization with information on where to get help in a crisis and types of aftercare or post-treatment support.

Smart Recovery:

Network of support groups for any addiction that provides online and in-person meetings as well as a toolbox with worksheets and exercises to help manage recovery.

Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder), Mayo Clinic:

Overview with information on life-changing complications, when to seek emergency help, and what an intervention involves.

Faces and Voices of Recovery:

Organization for individuals in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and for their family, friends, and community allies.

Finding the Right Addiction Treatment Program,

Guide to treatment ranging from inpatient/residential, intensive outpatient, and sober living, to outpatient and support groups.

Adult Children of Alcoholics:

Support group for adult children who grew up in a home where alcoholism or other family dysfunction, such as drug addiction, was prevalent.


Support program, which includes Alateen, for those whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Substance Abuse Resource Center, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:

Information on what parents should do if they think their teen has a substance abuse problem and what role drug tests may have in teen substance use treatment.

Center on Addiction:

Organization offering support and guidance using science-based information on topics such as designing a treatment plan, for parents and caregivers. Handbook with information about medication-assisted treatment.

Narcotics Anonymous:

Support organization with regular local meetings and a 12-step program to recovery.

Never Alone Club:

Online Narcotics Anonymous group with daily meetings and 24/7 support.

Nicotine Anonymous:

Support organization with regular local meetings and a 12-step program to recovery.


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