What Does Being in Recovery Mean

Being in recovery - what does it mean?

About 19.7 million Americans battle some form of substance abuse. 10% of American adults admit that they are in recovery. Being in recovery does not just mean being sober, sobriety is the first step in recovery. Recovery can have many definitions when it comes to substance abuse, but one common point is that there is a positive change in the person. It is not just the abstinence from drug and alcohol use. The term recovery tends to be subjective depending on who you ask. 

What is Recovery?

Recovery was at one time a concept associated completely with 12 step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. In the beginning, it meant just abstinence. With the growing need for addiction treatment, the concept of what recovery is has expanded. It now more applies to a way of life. SAMSHA defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” 

Recovery now expands further than just abstinence. It is a new life, a second chance. Those in recovery now live a fulfilling life. Their whole lives improve, from family, to physical and mental health, as well as better living conditions.

Productive Members of Society

While in active addiction, your whole life is controlled by your drugs use. Your entire day involves coming up with ways to get money for use. Many times the addiction can completely destroy your life. Once the drugs are gone, part of the process of recovery is being a productive member of society. The drug no longer controls every action. Holding down a job now becomes possible. A steady job and no longer needing to spend all your money on using, allows for bills to be paid. Many are now able to have a home. 

Meanwhile, a person in recovery may discover hobbies they once loved or even new ones. There is a lot more time available when you are no longer spending every waking moment to feed your drug habit. Spending time working or on hobbies can be very fulfilling. Having goals and ambitions are a big part of recovery.

It is now possible for people to reach goals they never would have dreamed possible while in addiction. Some may decide to go back to school or begin a new career. All the energy once focused on negative things is now being harnessed for positive. 

Physical and Mental Health

Another part of recovery can be of the body. While in active addiction, health is often ignored. As part of living a life in recovery we no longer ignore those things. It can be as simple as eating healthy and personal hygiene. Many people become interested in fitness or other athletic activities like hiking. A more obvious part is addressing their health by going to doctors regularly. When in recovery you are no longer killing yourself slowly with substances and there’s now a desire to live, that wasn’t there before.  

Physical health is important, but equally important is mental health. In recovery it is now time to address those issues that may have caused your use. Many mental disorders are also linked to addiction. There could also be unresolved trauma that may need to be addressed. These issues can no longer be ignored; if they are, they may lead to relapse.  
 

Relationships in Recovery

 
A final component of recovery is relationships. Drugs often cut off people from making connections or maintaining relationships with family and friends. In recovery, people now mend relationships, as well as form new ones. You are now able to show up for people when you are needed. Bettering themselves allows for these relationships to heal.  

Also, people are typically cut off from spiritual things when using. This doesn’t necessarily mean religion. It can mean just having a higher power and trusting that you cannot control everything. While in recovery, people can find it very comforting to take solace in religion or other spiritual things. 

Why Not Just Abstinence? 

 
While there are people who will say that being in recovery simply means not using drugs and alcohol, to a lot of people it is much more than that. It is a process of change; one that will give them a life where their health and wellness are improve and are truly happy without using drugs or alcohol.  

If drugs are taken away, often the issues that caused people to use are still there. That’s part of the process of recovery, addressing these issues. Once these issues are addressed, you are given coping skills. For many people drugs were the way they coped, and now they must learn new ways. This is part of the psychological change of recovery.  

It is true that the goal is to stop the drug and alcohol use, but an even bigger goal is lifelong sobriety. Some may try to control their use but often find it difficult, making the case for total abstinence. All the other aspects of recovery discussed are suggested to aid in not using and living a fulfilling productive life. These changes show you a life that is not bleak without drugs and alcohol, but attractive and fruitful.  

Being in Recovery – What Does it Mean?

 
While the meaning of recovery may vary depending on who you ask, most people that have experienced it would agree that it is more than just not using. Recovery is a process. It is life changing and it is hard at times. However, the outcome is rewarding. The new life that you create is often times a happier and better one than what you had before. This would not be possible without other changes that are made through recovery.  

 About 19.7 million Americans battle some form of substance abuse. 10% of American adults admit that they are in recovery. Being in recovery does not just mean being sober, sobriety is the first step in recovery. Recovery can have many definitions when it comes to substance abuse, but one common point is that there is a positive change in the person. It is not just the abstinence from drug and alcohol use. The term recovery tends to be subjective depending on who you ask. 

What is Recovery?

Recovery was at one time a concept associated completely with 12 step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. In the beginning, it meant just abstinence. With the growing need for addiction treatment, the concept of what recovery is has expanded. It now more applies to a way of life. SAMSHA defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” 

Recovery now expands further than just abstinence. It is a new life, a second chance. Those in recovery now live a fulfilling life. Their whole lives improve, from family, to physical and mental health, as well as better living conditions.

Productive Members of Society

While in active addiction, your whole life is controlled by your drugs use. Your entire day involves coming up with ways to get money for use. Many times the addiction can completely destroy your life. Once the drugs are gone, part of the process of recovery is being a productive member of society. The drug no longer controls every action. Holding down a job now becomes possible. A steady job and no longer needing to spend all your money on using, allows for bills to be paid. Many are now able to have a home. 

Meanwhile, a person in recovery may discover hobbies they once loved or even new ones. There is a lot more time available when you are no longer spending every waking moment to feed your drug habit. Spending time working or on hobbies can be very fulfilling. Having goals and ambitions are a big part of recovery.

It is now possible for people to reach goals they never would have dreamed possible while in addiction. Some may decide to go back to school or begin a new career. All the energy once focused on negative things is now being harnessed for positive. 

Physical and Mental Health

Another part of recovery can be of the body. While in active addiction, health is often ignored. As part of living a life in recovery we no longer ignore those things. It can be as simple as eating healthy and personal hygiene. Many people become interested in fitness or other athletic activities like hiking. A more obvious part is addressing their health by going to doctors regularly. When in recovery you are no longer killing yourself slowly with substances and there’s now a desire to live, that wasn’t there before.  

Physical health is important, but equally important is mental health. In recovery it is now time to address those issues that may have caused your use. Many mental disorders are also linked to addiction. There could also be unresolved trauma that may need to be addressed. These issues can no longer be ignored; if they are, they may lead to relapse.  
 

Relationships in Recovery

A final component of recovery is relationships. Drugs often cut off people from making connections or maintaining relationships with family and friends. In recovery, people now mend relationships, as well as form new ones. You are now able to show up for people when you are needed. Bettering themselves allows for these relationships to heal.  

Also, people are typically cut off from spiritual things when using. This doesn’t necessarily mean religion. It can mean just having a higher power and trusting that you cannot control everything. While in recovery, people can find it very comforting to take solace in religion or other spiritual things. 
 

Why Not Just Abstinence? 

 
While there are people who will say that being in recovery simply means not using drugs and alcohol, to a lot of people it is much more than that. It is a process of change; one that will give them a life where their health and wellness are improve and are truly happy without using drugs or alcohol.  

If drugs are taken away, often the issues that caused people to use are still there. That’s part of the process of recovery, addressing these issues. Once these issues are addressed, you are given coping skills. For many people drugs were the way they coped, and now they must learn new ways. This is part of the psychological change of recovery.  

It is true that the goal is to stop the drug and alcohol use, but an even bigger goal is lifelong sobriety. Some may try to control their use but often find it difficult, making the case for total abstinence. All the other aspects of recovery discussed are suggested to aid in not using and living a fulfilling productive life. These changes show you a life that is not bleak without drugs and alcohol, but attractive and fruitful.  

Being in Recovery – What Does it Mean?

While the meaning of recovery may vary depending on who you ask, most people that have experienced it would agree that it is more than just not using. Recovery is a process. It is life changing and it is hard at times. However, the outcome is rewarding. The new life that you create is often times a happier and better one than what you had before. This would not be possible without other changes that are made through recovery.  

 About 19.7 million Americans battle some form of substance abuse. 10% of American adults admit that they are in recovery. Being in recovery does not just mean being sober, sobriety is the first step in recovery. Recovery can have many definitions when it comes to substance abuse, but one common point is that there is a positive change in the person. It is not just the abstinence from drug and alcohol use. The term recovery tends to be subjective depending on who you ask. 

What is Recovery?

Recovery was at one time a concept associated completely with 12 step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. In the beginning, it meant just abstinence. With the growing need for addiction treatment, the concept of what recovery is has expanded. It now more applies to a way of life. SAMSHA defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” 

Recovery now expands further than just abstinence. It is a new life, a second chance. Those in recovery now live a fulfilling life. Their whole lives improve, from family, to physical and mental health, as well as better living conditions.

Productive Members of Society

While in active addiction, your whole life is controlled by your drugs use. Your entire day involves coming up with ways to get money for use. Many times the addiction can completely destroy your life. Once the drugs are gone, part of the process of recovery is being a productive member of society. The drug no longer controls every action. Holding down a job now becomes possible. A steady job and no longer needing to spend all your money on using, allows for bills to be paid. Many are now able to have a home. 

Meanwhile, a person in recovery may discover hobbies they once loved or even new ones. There is a lot more time available when you are no longer spending every waking moment to feed your drug habit. Spending time working or on hobbies can be very fulfilling. Having goals and ambitions are a big part of recovery.

It is now possible for people to reach goals they never would have dreamed possible while in addiction. Some may decide to go back to school or begin a new career. All the energy once focused on negative things is now being harnessed for positive. 

Physical and Mental Health

Another part of recovery can be of the body. While in active addiction, health is often ignored. As part of living a life in recovery we no longer ignore those things. It can be as simple as eating healthy and personal hygiene. Many people become interested in fitness or other athletic activities like hiking. A more obvious part is addressing their health by going to doctors regularly. When in recovery you are no longer killing yourself slowly with substances and there’s now a desire to live, that wasn’t there before.  

Physical health is important, but equally important is mental health. In recovery it is now time to address those issues that may have caused your use. Many mental disorders are also linked to addiction. There could also be unresolved trauma that may need to be addressed. These issues can no longer be ignored; if they are, they may lead to relapse.  

Relationships in Recovery

A final component of recovery is relationships. Drugs often cut off people from making connections or maintaining relationships with family and friends. In recovery, people now mend relationships, as well as form new ones. You are now able to show up for people when you are needed. Bettering themselves allows for these relationships to heal.  

Also, people are typically cut off from spiritual things when using. This doesn’t necessarily mean religion. It can mean just having a higher power and trusting that you cannot control everything. While in recovery, people can find it very comforting to take solace in religion or other spiritual things. 
 

Why Not Just Abstinence? 

 
While there are people who will say that being in recovery simply means not using drugs and alcohol, to a lot of people it is much more than that. It is a process of change; one that will give them a life where their health and wellness are improve and are truly happy without using drugs or alcohol.  

If drugs are taken away, often the issues that caused people to use are still there. That’s part of the process of recovery, addressing these issues. Once these issues are addressed, you are given coping skills. For many people drugs were the way they coped, and now they must learn new ways. This is part of the psychological change of recovery.  

It is true that the goal is to stop the drug and alcohol use, but an even bigger goal is lifelong sobriety. Some may try to control their use but often find it difficult, making the case for total abstinence. All the other aspects of recovery discussed are suggested to aid in not using and living a fulfilling productive life. These changes show you a life that is not bleak without drugs and alcohol, but attractive and fruitful.  
 

Being in Recovery – What Does it Mean?

 
While the meaning of recovery may vary depending on who you ask, most people that have experienced it would agree that it is more than just not using. Recovery is a process. It is life changing and it is hard at times. However, the outcome is rewarding. The new life that you create is often times a happier and better one than what you had before. This would not be possible without other changes that are made through recovery.  

All these point to certain needs when looking for addiction treatment for you or a loved one. Whatever places you decide on should have services that guide potential clients toward a new happy life and not just staying clean. Facilities should help them rebuild their lives. Recovery is possible and with it is a beautiful life. If you or someone you love needs help with addiction or resources for recovery, reach out.

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22 comments
  1. When I got out of rehab, I found my love of playing guitar again… this filled the void I felt like I had still…

  2. A deep definition of recovery I like that. A definition that applies not just for addicts but for all walks of life. That being said picking up the pieces after being broken is always hard but not impossible. This is where a good support system steps in. Of course the will to change must come from the person too.

  3. It must be wonderful to recover your life control after being on drugs, I´m sure that a life where you feel you have a purpose and you want to develop your potential has a lot of meaning and value.

  4. Being in recovery doesn’t mean you are getting out of the addiction only. Being in recovery means you are getting back into normal and happy life again.

  5. Drugs gets the best of the person, that’s all what matters to them making them loose families and friends. Recovery makes them see more people around showing up for more family events

  6. Wow, after reading this lovely post I believe recovery makes one feel more like social person making rooms for relationships drugs has denied one from earlier. One feels more normal than before.

  7. It is true that the goal is to stop the drug and alcohol use, but an even bigger goal is lifelong sobriety where the more work lies. Also making up for lost relationships due to the time drugs takes you away.

  8. Recovery is just as leaving your past, getting out of a mess. It might be you are once addicted, traumatized, sick etc, recovery is coming out of such act which should definitely make you happier and healthier.

  9. The number shown in the post of the battling Americans with addiction is huge. And, it’s good that people are into the recovery process also.

  10. I never do drugs, luckily. I just afraid if I can’t control it and just depending on it. Therefore, I’m respecting to all who can finally stop their addiction to it and be functioned again to not only their family but also society.

  11. Recovery is more of a journey than a process, I feel. Because rehab when addiction totally conquers, let it be any addiction needs your mental toughness and patience to handle it for quite a long period of time.

  12. I think recovery means a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength,Recovery is not only in health.Recovery means returning from a disturbed mental state to a cooled and peaceful mental state.

  13. Recovery now expands further than just abstinence. most people that have experienced it would agree that it is more than just not using.

  14. After reading whole article ,I understand Recovery is a powerful period because beyond everything else, it signifies that you know you have a problem and you are trying to fix it. Recovery does not mean you fix your issues right away. It means you recognize something is wrong, which is a critical part of getting help.

  15. I think recovery should simply be acquiring past lost things. This post is a completely educative one. While the meaning of recovery may vary depending on who you ask, most people that have experienced it would agree that it is more than just not using. This recovery can only be achieved if the stages are carefully followed and attained. Thanks for this post.

  16. The recovery period if utilized well can be a time of reflection and self rediscovery. It’s the make or break time for someone battling drug addiction.

  17. This article is very detailed . Everything that’s needed to known to get through time like this and it’s also creating awareness on addiction and stuffs. It’s really a nice piece.

  18. What recovery presents to an addict is a second chance in life. That’s the best gift anyone can have given to them.

  19. It is worth pointing out that the process of recovery is only possible if the subject has a good support system. A good support system is half the journey to recovery.

  20. In my opinion the most important aspect of recovery is mending broken relationships. Addiction makes us cut our loved ones off and that can leave someone in a very dark place.

  21. Doing recovery, one always attach the healing or their trusting to a superior been always religious this time. Recovery also needs love from everyone around, it helps the healing process.

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