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How to Stay Committed to Recovery from Opioid Use Disorder

Walking a path to recovery

Staying drug-free is a continuous journey filled with many ‘firsts’ and opportunities for personal growth. Each day in recovery, you’re likely discovering new aspects of who you are and who you aspire to be. It’s important to build a stable support structure, as this can significantly aid in maintaining your focus on self-improvement and health. Such a foundation is crucial in keeping you on the path to recovery for the long term.

Achieving Lasting Recovery

In the first year of recovery from opioid use disorder, you learn a lot of new things about yourself and your surroundings, including the best ways to interact with everything and everyone around you. You’ve probably learned how to take care of yourself in ways you may not have thought of before like focusing on finding balance in your life. You’ve already learned that recovery isn’t just about not doing drugs. It’s about making your life better as a whole and not having to use substances to deal with feelings, both positive and negative. The first year is a fantastic milestone to celebrate while also keeping in mind that there will be many more years to come.

How to Stay Committed Moving Forward

The National Institute of Health research has shown that 1/3 of people who can stick to their recovery plan and make it through the one-year milestone are more likely to stay on the path and avoid relapse or reoccurrence of substance use. People who are most prone to relapse are those who have not built strong coping skills and a sense of self-efficacy. This is why the first year of recovery is so crucial for many people after treatment because it’s when you lay down the most important groundwork for your future.

Keep up with Recovery Maintenance

After a year in recovery, it’s time to make sure you stay the course by creating an outline or plan for the future. Along with a written out “recovery plan,” it’s also vital to speak to your therapist or professional addiction counselor for advice on the best ways to continue refueling your enthusiasm for recovery. The experienced and knowledgeable professionals at treatment centers understand long-term recovery well and can refer you to someone who can help. Continuing to practice positive coping skills and exercises even a year into recovery is important to make sure you don’t get too “comfortable” and start slipping into old habits and thought processes. This is essential to keeping relapse at bay. Continue to “check-in” with yourself to make sure you are using all of the tools you learned in counseling and make it your goal to grow these skills and abilities.

Stay Active in the Recovery Community

Staying acting active by being surrounded by people in recovery in a support group.

After your first year of recovery, you may feel you have returned to “normal life” and are maintaining a job, social life, and participating in new hobbies. Be sure you’re also still making time for your support groups. You can make life-long friendships and connections with people who are also in recovery. The mutual support people in groups can provide for each other is essential to staying on the right path. Especially because everyone in the group has a shared core goal; to succeed. 

Even though your friends outside of the recovery community can also be a great support system, it always feels nice to have people who truly understand your previous struggles with addiction. You’ve done the hard work in treatment by making it through a year in recovery, but make sure you are continuing to thrive with the encouragement of others with whom you share a special bond. Sometimes, those people are going to be the best ones to give you solid advice when you need it most.

Keep a Journal 

Writing down your thoughts, ideas, experiences, and anything else that is going through your head can be an incredibly therapeutic. It’s an essential habit that is useful for staying true to your recovery process. If you have a bad day and begin to think negatively or feel that you don’t want to be alone with your thoughts, write them down! Not only will it feel good to get these thoughts out on paper, but it’s also educational to go back and read previous entries from earlier in your recovery. 

This is a good way to notice patterns in your thought processes while also seeing how far you’ve come over the past year and beyond. The journal can also be used to make lists, write down your daily schedule, and your goals for the day and more. Not only does journaling your thoughts help use parts of your brain that may have been negatively affected by addiction, but it’s also useful to learn a little bit more about yourself as you discover your new, drug-free self in recovery.

Continue Learning New Skills

Woman learning a new skill while in recovery

One of the most impactful things to do after overcoming the obstacles during the first year is to begin challenging yourself! Learn a new life skill. Now that you’ve done a lot of self-exploration, it’s time to continue and ramp-up your self-improvement goals. 

This could be something as simple as learning how to cook, or garden, or something as fundamental as doing your laundry. Everyone’s goals are different, but the process of learning these life skills will help you feel not only accomplished but also self-sufficient. Never again will you resort to feeling helpless or down on yourself, because this phase of recovery is all about being your best self.

Looking Towards the Future with MedMark

The first year is often the most difficult, but with commitment and a strong support system, long-term abstinence can be achieved. This milestone is something to be very proud of while also knowing that it’s just the beginning of your new life. Should you need help starting or maintaining your recovery journey, the caring professionals at MedMark are here for you. With evidence-based treatment plans tailored to your unique needs, We provide the tools and support for you to take control of your life. Contact us today to discuss your treatment options

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