Recovery from addiction is an arduous process that can contain a great deal of stress. However, it is also one of the most rewarding processes that one can do for their own health, relationships, and personal goals. With feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression prevalent throughout the recovery process, it can be common to ask oneself when the recovery process will “end.” While this notion is completely normal, there is a great deal of danger that comes with holding on to the idea that one’s recovery journey has to have a definite “end date” at all.
Differentiating Treatment and Recovery
Asking oneself when their recovery will end is a very different question from asking when one’s treatment program will end. Graduating from a program, whether it be detox, residential, or even partial hospitalization and sober living arrangements, are all worthy of celebration. However, graduating from these programs and moving from a treatment facility to living in the “real world” does not mean that one’s journey with recovery has concluded.
Different treatment programs may have a predetermined period for when an individual can expect to stay. However, one’s recovery is not directly tied to any given facility. Their journey with recovery will continue to extend far beyond the confines of any physical location or period of stay.
Recovery as a Lifelong Journey
Relinquishing the idea that one’s recovery needs to have a specific “end date” opens the doors to understanding that recovery is a lifelong journey. While recovery is always possible, it is also common that an individual will continue to experience urges, harbor high levels of stress, or continue to experience triggers even long after the treatment program itself has ended. Regardless if an individual is still in their first months transitioning back into the “real world” or is celebrating their fifth year sober, one’s recovery is a continuously adaptive and active process.
Managing Unrealistic Goals
One of the major problems with aiming for a definite end date in one’s recovery is that one’s expectations can be unrealistic. Expecting oneself to have moved past all stresses, anxiety, guilt, and to have a coping strategy that is prepared for every possible situation by a certain time is a nigh-impossible task. Believing that one should have accomplished this begets even more stress, anxiety, and feelings of failure and self-deprecation. Managing one’s goals throughout their entire recovery journey is essential for maintaining motivation. These rigid expectations are not conducive to a fair recovery metric.
Embracing the Fluid Nature of Recovery
Recovery also is not a straight line. Each individual will have their own unique journey filled with hurdles, highs, and lows throughout the process. Having a specified “end date” can unnecessarily narrow one’s focus to their immediate stressors or anxieties. While learning to cope with the immediate, daily stresses in one’s life is paramount throughout recovery, it can be just as important to learn to look and prepare for the future of one’s sober life.
Expecting to be fully free or done with addiction recovery can leave many gaps in one’s recovery strategies. There can be a number of unforeseen elements in an individual’s new life. By thinking that they are “done” with recovery can leave an individual ill-prepared to cope with future stressful events. Even long into recovery, seemingly positive events can also be unique stressors.
For example, while getting a promotion at a job can be a fantastic achievement worthy of celebration, the additional income can make it easier to reengage with previous addictive substances. Considering being “done” with recovery can leave these newfound stressors without an effective coping strategy. Thic can catch an individual off guard if they believe they are somehow done thinking about the trials of their sobriety.
Staying Involved in Recovery
The “end” of recovery is not a set date. It is much more beneficial to embrace the fluid and ever-changing nature of one’s stresses, goals, and sober lifestyle. However, maintaining a presence in a recovery community can help keep an individual constantly focused and developing new sober strategies.
For some, this can mean joining an alumni program, continuing to go to outpatient or 12-Step programs, or even becoming a sponsor to another just beginning their own sober journey. Keeping recovery as a part of one’s life is a testament to the dedication and preparedness to maintain the sober life, relationships, and personal goals that they has worked so hard to achieve.
Recovery is an ongoing journey that isn’t measured by an end date. If you or a loved one is ready to take the first step on your recovery and start your new, sober life, Everlast Recovery Center is ready to help. We offer an array of programs designed to help you navigate your unique journey. We are prepared to help you through our detox facilities and residential treatment while instilling practical coping strategies each step of the way. Our recovery-focused environment can help you detach from daily stresses and focus your energy on the development of your own sober identity, all while supporting you with a homelike and comfortable community. Your time with us can be personalized with various therapies such as yoga, meditation, art, music, writing, 12-Step programs, and more. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained staff member, call us today at (866) 338-6925.