The first time I tried to get sober, I followed two friends into recovery and did exactly what they did. It lasted about two months—which was a lifetime of sobriety for me then, but a lot shorter than I meant to make it. When I got sober this time, six years ago and six years after the first time, I went about it very differently. I spent a lot of time thinking about what might work for me and setting up supports that I thought would best serve me.
The Recovery Landscape is Shifting
If I had known the first time that there are as many ways to recover as there are people, maybe things would have gone differently. Historically, there was only one recovery program in the spotlight, and that was 12-step-based. 12-step programs are a wonderful resource that have saved countless lives—but they are not for everyone.
Examples of Recovery Programs
In recent years, more attention has been given to the fact that everyone recovers differently. For instance, in the past if you were on medication-assisted treatment (MAT), you were considered not in recovery.
While there is still a stigma about MAT, public opinion is increasingly catching up to the data that MAT is an effective treatment. Peter Grinspoon, M.D., of Harvard Health Publishing said, “As addiction is increasingly viewed as a medical condition, Suboxone [a medication used to treat opioid use disorder] is viewed as a medication for a chronic condition, such as a person with diabetes needing to take insulin.”
The Recovery Research Institute lists dozens of pathways to recovery. Some examples are the levels of care in addiction treatment, MAT, holistic-based recovery services, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, 12-step programs, peer-based recovery, education-based recovery, and self-managed recovery. There are also expressive or recreational therapies, meditation, and much more.
Many people mix and match lots of different options. For example, I started my sobriety by attending a local support group; now I consider therapy, meditation, hobbies, self-education, friendship, exercise, nature, and being of service all parts of my recovery. Many people in 12-step programs work with both a sponsor and a therapist.
If your recovery program doesn’t look the same as someone (or anyone) else’s, that’s okay. You have the best chance at staying sober if you do what works best for you—and you will be more fulfilled in your recovery.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you find and build the recovery program that suits you. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.