Am I Going to Be in Recovery for the Rest of My Life?

Updated on 08/02/23

Deciding to get sober is a challenge for some and can bring about fear. For many, the fear of being in recovery for the rest of their lives is a daunting thought. They may fear the idea of being sober forever and believe it isn’t possible. Others may fear they are not strong enough to do what it takes to maintain their recovery. Committing to recovery can be frightening, but it is possible. 

Get Real about Addiction Recovery

By eliminating cliches, stereotypes and false beliefs about addiction and recovery, you can make room for accurate information. Once you know the truth about treatment programs and the recovery process, you will understand why individuals look at recovery as a lifelong process. Learning about recovery and what it entails can help eliminate fear and get you one step closer to making a commitment to sobriety. 

Know that Addiction Is a Disorder

You have probably heard that addiction is a disorder numerous times, but what does it mean? Addiction results from abusing drugs or alcohol, altering brain functioning and structure. As you continue to use drugs and alcohol, your brain releases “feel-good” chemicals. Then, your brain and body crave more. As a result, you develop tolerance and need more and more of the substance to achieve the same feeling. You then become dependent on the substance, meaning when you stop using, withdrawal symptoms set in. From there, addiction can begin to alter your way of life and affect everything from your job to your family. Addiction becomes something that becomes out of your control; thus, you develop a substance use disorder. 

The idea that addiction is a disorder may help you sit with the idea that recovery is a lifelong process. Addiction is, in many respects, no different from other disorders. For example, other conditions, such as diabetes, require lifelong maintenance. However, at times, relapse can occur, but this does not mean all hope is lost; it just means that changes to the recovery plan may be necessary. Lifelong maintenance is required, but you may slip along the way. A slip may not always be a relapse, it may just be a simple shift in motivation, but it is always possible to get back on the path of recovery. Maintenance can be achieved by looking after yourself, taking specific precautions to prevent relapses, and following up with doctor appointments and other support. 

See Recovery as a Journey

As the phrase goes, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Same thing applies to addiction recovery. When you view it as a continuous journey, you set yourself up for success. Take recovery one day at a time; such thinking may ease any anxiety you feel. 

In recovery, you have the opportunity to evaluate your actions daily and assess where you are. You also have the option to make changes along the way. Progressing in your recovery takes time, and it takes one day at a time.

Recovery Is More Than Staying Sober

Recovery is more than just abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Looking at how recovery can improve your life can help you sit with the idea that recovery may be a lifelong journey for you. Many people who are sober define recovery as “a continuous process that never ends.” With this definition in mind, life in recovery is about more than just avoiding drugs and alcohol for the rest of your life. It’s a physical, mental, and spiritual process of ongoing change that involves healing and a re-defining of self. It is a journey that is supported by others in recovery. Recovery transcends shame and addiction stigma. Recovery is a new reality.

Five critical elements of a life in recovery include:

#1. Continuous growth and change

#2. Abstinence from drugs and alcohol 

#3. Improved health

#4. Improved wellness

#5. Improved quality of life

Enjoy Lifelong Recovery

Lifelong recovery can be a good thing. It means you have a future. You can make amends to people you love. You have the chance to become the person you have always wanted to be. When you choose recovery, you get a real opportunity to start over again. 

When deciding whether you want to get sober or not, it can be frightening to sit with the idea that recovery is a lifelong process. At Cliffside Malibu in Malibu, California, we are ready to help you take the first step towards recovery. We offer various treatment and support programs and additional resources to help you begin or continue your journey without drugs or alcohol. To learn more, call us today at (855) 403-5641