Achieving long term sobriety is the ultimate goal of all addiction treatment, but it can be a very hard goal to achieve. In many cases, abstinence lasts for only a short time and success doesn’t always improve with multiple treatments.
And it’s no wonder. Addiction is a chronic, long-term disease. It’s often, not only the result of bad choices, but bad circumstances like injury. For some people, addiction is even genetic. When battling addiction, you aren’t just battling the choice to take drugs or not—you are battling a health condition that can go into remission, but never really goes away.
However, people do achieve long-term sobriety and avoid relapses, even those who have used substances for a long time. It is not only possible, but achievable for any person with the right support and treatment. People who achieve long-term sobriety of a decade or longer credit the factors we’ve listed below for their success, according to this study on sobriety
Multiple studies and surveys have shown that social support from friends and family is vital to both short- and long-term abstinence. When your friends and family support your abstinence, you are more likely to stay sober. This support may include vocalizing their support or changing habits themselves, such as not offering alcohol at social events.
Your friends and family can also help you through times of stress, one of the largest triggers for relapse. It’s important to lean on your family when you need them and have people in your life you can rely on. If you do not feel your relationships offer this support, consider couples or family counseling to improve these bonds and help your loved ones get involved in your recovery.
However, social support can be a double-edged sword. If your friends and family accept substance use, and use substances themselves, you are less likely to stay sober around them. To achieve long-term sobriety, it’s best to stay away from people or events that triggered you to use in the past.
Recognizing Negative Consequences
Many people who achieve sobriety credit negative, life-changing consequences such as losing their job or going to jail as a major reason for seeking treatment–and staying sober. It can be helpful to recognize and remember the ways that addiction negatively impacts your life and use it as motivation to change.
Living for Something
As you achieve sobriety, you’ll be able to return to work, rebuild relationships, and perhaps find your own place to live. These positive achievements are instrumental to long-term abstinence. The feeling of pride and empowerment has a positive impact on the psyche and you will begin to crave these positive feelings in your day-to-day life. Even small achievements can give your life more meaning and stability, helping you stay committed to sobriety when cravings strike.
People who achieve long-term sobriety are more likely to participate in total abstinence. This means no drugs or alcohol. Some people may try to use substances on occasion or in social settings, such as one glass of wine at a special event. However, studies show that less stringent sobriety rules are more likely to lead to relapse.
Participation in Sobriety 12-Step Programs
12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous provide informal treatment and recovery, often after more formal treatment such as inpatient care or detox. Studies show that participating in these informal sessions can help support long-term sobriety. These programs reinforce your gains and help you keep going. The more active and engaged you are in these groups, the more likely you are to stay sober.
These programs also provide easy access to several key indicators of sobriety:
- Reliable, long-term social support
- Reminders of negative consequences of addiction
- A chance to reflect on positive things in your life
Although meetings are a great way to stay engaged, you must also remember to implement their practices into your everyday life. The more practice you have, the easier it will become.
Even if you choose not to participate in a 12-step program, participating in an alumni program or other form of informal group therapy is a great option. You don’ need to do it alone. It’s important to find people who understand and support your choices.
Formal Sobriety Treatment
Research shows that participating in formal treatment is vital to long-term sobriety. Formal treatment may include in-patient stays at a treatment center with scheduled group and individual psychotherapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Like 12-step programs, formal treatment programs are most effective when you apply the tools you learn into your everyday life. Treatment programs give you an opportunity to reflect on the negative consequences of addiction and the positive ways sobriety has changed your life. They also give you strategies for handling triggers, including stress, and additional treatment for mental health conditions, such as depression, that may lead to substance use.
Formal treatment will also give you the opportunity to involve loved ones in your recovery. Family therapy or couples counseling are highly recommended as they educate your loved ones on issues surrounding addiction and help to teach them the tools they need to understand and support you.
At Harmony Place in Woodland Hills, California, we provide a relaxing, comfortable environment for addiction treatment and recovery with many addiction treatment program options. Contact us today at 1-(888)-789-4330 to learn more about our services and how you or your loved one can prepare for a successful rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addiction at our California treatment center to maintain sobriety.
Take the first step toward sobriety. Contact us at 1-888-789-4330 at any time day or night for assistance, or learn more with our blog archives and sobriety resources.