When Symptoms Return
Treatment for co-occurring disorders focuses on substance use and mental health issues. Relapse can mean a return of mental health symptoms or a return to using substances again. Because the issues are so interwoven, a return of symptoms in one category may initiate the return of problems in the other one as well. Those with returning symptoms may see themselves as going backward or starting over at square one. The gains made, and lessons learned are still important to long-term recovery.
After putting so much time and effort into becoming sober, it makes sense some people would begin to feel overly confident once they have reached certain milestones in their recovery journey. Although it is a valuable part of the recovery process to affirm yourself and receive affirmation from others, it is necessary to balance this with humility and caution. There can be a temptation to believe you have done enough work toward recovery and you can now reduce your efforts. Complacency is a lazy and passive form of sabotage that creeps slowly into your life. It limits your motivation and saps your energy. You may feel that further effort is unnecessary, but this subtle self-deception can compromise your recovery success.
Understanding Long-Term Maintenance
Just as physical health must be maintained, so it is with your mental health and addiction recovery. You can’t exercise enough this month to stay in shape for a lifetime. And you can’t attend programming or treatment for 30 days and expect solid long-term recovery. With some intentional planning, many tempting situations can be avoided. Your positive efforts today are necessary to maintain your sobriety tomorrow. Be honest with yourself and stay in touch with sober friends who can spot your vulnerabilities. Don’t let your guard down. Recognizing and immediately addressing those apathetic thought patterns can increase your chances of successful life-long recovery.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the Ride!