Whether you’re just exploring recovery options for addiction, you’ve just finished an inpatient or intensive outpatient recovery program, or you’ve been in recovery for years, maintaining your sobriety is a lifelong journey. There are no quick fixes or miracle cures for addiction; long term recovery requires patience with yourself and the process. Here are seven tips on achieving long term recovery from addiction.

Plan for Your Success

If you have participated in residential or intensive outpatient treatment for addiction, you likely developed a plan to maintain your sobriety and/or recovery journey. Without clearly defined goals, it can be difficult to maintain motivation and identify progress. Your recovery and relapse prevention plan should include what support you’ll seek in your home community, who you can depend on for accountability, and how you’ll avoid potential relapse. Consider the following questions when making your plan:

  • What regular support groups or therapy services will I participate in?
  • Who can I count on to be mentors, sponsors, or other growth and accountability partners? How often will I check in with them?
  • What people, places, and experiences should I avoid to maintain my recovery?
  • What will I do if I experience a relapse?

Answering these questions thoroughly – and planning out the details – will help you develop a plan for long term recovery. Surprised to see a question about relapse on a recovery plan? Statistically speaking, a majority of people in recovery experience relapse at some time in their journey. Making a plan for how to deal with a relapse and make progress in your recovery afterward will ensure you have the tools to help get back on the wagon if it happens to you.

Identify Personal Triggers

As part of your treatment or recovery plan, you may have done extensive work on identifying the underlying triggers for your addiction or addictive behavior. Whether you have or haven’t thought about these underlying triggers before, it’s important to name them and make a plan to avoid them or mitigate their impact. Often, regular visits with a mental health counselor or therapist can help you deal with these triggers. Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • People or Places Connected to the Addictive Behavior
  • Negative or Challenging Emotions
  • Poor Sleep, Fatigue, or Exhaustion
  • Seeing or Sensing the Object of Your Addiction
  • Times of Celebration

Define Your Motivations

Naming and reminding yourself why you’re fighting for your recovery can be crucial to maintaining your sobriety or recovery journey. Make a list of the people and experiences in your life that you want to cherish without the presence of addictive substances or habits. Name the personal and professional goals that are made possible because of your recovery journey. Keep these motivations front and center in your daily life to remind you of the life-changing value of your recovery.

Develop Healthy Habits and Routines

Healthy habits and routines help you manage daily life with less stress and anxiety. Regular eating and sleeping schedules make a big difference for your mental and physical health. Often, developing healthy habits like exercising or participating in a hobby can replace activities associated with your addiction. These healthy habits and routines will help you celebrate life in recovery and potentially have a huge positive effect on your mental health.

Build Your Community of Support

Maybe you regularly visit a therapist or mental health counselor, meet with a peer-support group, or have built a group of friends who celebrate and support your recovery. These aren’t the only people in your community of support! Family members, faith-community members, and others who make you feel included and valued can all be great supporters in your recovery journey. Identify your community of support, and seek out people to fill the gaps!

Celebrate Milestones

Celebrating milestones is an important part of long term recovery! Some programs hand out plastic chips or medallions to celebrate time-based milestones. Whether you participate in those groups and celebrate with these tokens or not, find a way to acknowledge your progress regularly. Involve your community of support in these celebrations to let them know how much you appreciate them. Time-bound milestones are not the only ones to celebrate; if you overcome a relapse or navigate a difficult trigger moment, share your success with those who love and support you.

Reach Out for Help When You Need It

Long term recovery is often a team effort – and you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re beginning to struggle in your recovery journey or need support, reach out right away. Start with members of your close support network, like sponsors, mentors, or accountability partners. But don’t hesitate to reach out to a local recovery center or support organization if you feel you’re at risk of relapse. Admitting that you need help can be difficult, but getting the help you need to stay in recovery will be well worth it.

Contact Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center Today

At Palmetto Recovery Center, we offer inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment for all forms of addiction. Our programming is centered around individualized care that prepares people for lifelong recovery. We are certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and staffed by caring mental health and addiction counseling professionals. We even offer a six- to eight-week Relapse Prevention Program for those seeking to maintain their recovery for the long term. If you or someone you love needs help recovering from an addiction, contact us right away!