Short term recovery strategies are pretty obvious, and we are all pretty well familiar with them:
* Ask for help.
* Seek professional services, like inpatient detox and residential treatment.
* Seek support groups, such as AA or NA meetings.
* Seek out a sponsor, who may give you pinpoint guidance and advice.
* Take massive action in your life and change everything. Dedicate your life to recovery.
These are short term strategies for overcoming drug or alcohol addiction. If you follow all of them and put in the best effort you possibly can, then you will most likely get a healthy start in your recovery and be well on your way to staying clean and sober for a long time.
But what are some long term recovery tactics and strategies for stopping a drug addiction? How do those strategies differ from these short term strategies listed above? Let’s take a closer look.
* First of all, long term recovery starts after the addict or alcoholic has basically mastered day-to-day recovery. This can be after 6 months or it might be after 4 years. There really is no set time frame for this; it all depends on the person. But if an addict still struggles just to maintain their sobriety on a day to day basis, then that person is NOT in long term recovery, no matter how long they have been clean for.
No, long term recovery tactics should only be used after the person has the basics mastered. Staying clean and sober on a daily basis should come naturally to them. If it does not, then they are still in “early recovery,” and should focus more on the strategies listed above.
* The main principle in long term recovery is holistic growth. All forms of action should flow from that idea. If you are not pursuing some form of holistic, personal growth, then it is not really a long term recovery strategy.
Note: “Holistic” just means that you are treating the “whole person” in recovery. So personal growth could be spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, and so on. It is broadly defined, and allows for much flexibility.
* Early recovery is about support and learning. Long term recovery is about personal growth. But how should you attempt to grow in long term recovery? Consider these examples, which are all forms of holistic growth in recovery:
1) Quitting smoking.
2) Regular exercise and fitness. Working out on a regular basis. Getting into excellent shape.
3) Spiritual or religious exploration that goes beyond 12 step recovery. Getting involved with a church, or learning a new spiritual path. Or, deepening your current path.
4) Changing your diet and eating patterns. Finding a healthier way to live. Learning good nutrition.
5) Emotional growth and development. Facing your fears head on and overcoming them.
6) Seeking higher education that what you currently possess. Pushing yourself to learn more for the sake of learning.
And so on. These are all examples of long term recovery tactics because none of them relate directly to addiction recovery, but they are all extremely helpful.
Now how should you approach these ideas in long term recovery?
I can tell you the way that worked best for me:
Do not tackle all of that stuff at once. It is too overwhelming, and you may well get frustrated and give up.
No, take one thing from the list. Take one idea. One strategy, such as regular exercise.
Then, master that strategy. Dedicate a whole year to it if you like. You are going to be sober for a long time. Keep learning and pushing yourself to master just one of these long term recovery strategies, then move on to the next one. Take your time with it. Go deep, rather than trying to do everything all at once.
This is the path to success in long term recovery.