How is Success Defined in Recovery?

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Success can be defined as an accomplishment. When a particular purpose is set out and then achieved, that is an accomplishment and that accomplishment is considered to be successful. The purpose of recovery is not clearly defined or standardized by anybody in a way that has created a global agreement. A majority opinion, however, is that recovery should be defined by long term abstinence. At the least, recovery should be defined by abstinence of any length of time. What defines a successful period of abstinence is debated. If someone graduates treatment and stays sober for six months, then relapses into active drug use for two more years, is that considered a success? Perhaps they stay abstinent form drugs and alcohol for six months, have a relapse, and immediately return to abstinent which ends up lasting a year. The conditions make it difficult to define.


Success is also difficult to define in recovery because there are no standardized rules or regulations for providing addiction treatment. Each treatment center creates its own philosophy and approach to treatment which then frames the way they define success. As a whole industry, treatment for addiction and alcoholism does not have a definition of success outside of helping clients discontinue the harmful use of harmful drugs and alcohol. What the industry does have is a shared opinion that success in any form doesn’t include drugs and alcohol.


You learn to define success for yourself in recovery. Growing through the treatment process, you are increasingly coming to a realization of what you want your life to look like without drugs and alcohol. Discovering your likes, dislikes, values, morals, ethics, passion, and interest, you formulate a picture for your life. Is your success strictly defined by staying abstinent from drugs and alcohol or is there possibly more? What if you see success in learning to manage your co-occurring disorder as well. Success in recovery could be defined by behavioral changes, mental changes, physical changes, even spiritual changes, in addition to abstinence from drugs and alcohol.


At Simple Recovery, we focus on helping each client define and achieve success in their life. Through a transitional action-oriented program, our clients go to work, go to school, volunteer their time, and build a life of self-respect in sobriety. Start your recovery today by calling us at: 888-743-0490