Factors Facilitating Addiction Recovery: A Summary

Some of you will know that I run two other websites, one of which, Recovery Stories, focuses on addiction and mental health recovery. Over the period from March to August I posted about 100 articles on my blog, but had to stop for a time while I was working on other things and taking some time out. I also loaded a great deal of other content. I’ll start posting on my blog again next week and add content on other parts of the website.

A number of my posts focused on the factors that facilitate the process of recovering from addiction. These descriptions have come from a chapter of my eBook Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol Addiction, which I launched in April 2021. Here, I briefly summarise these factors and provide links to the relevant blog posts. Most of these factors are also of relevance to recovery from mental health problems and trauma.

Hope: This hope is based on a sense that life can hold more for one than it currently does, and it inspires a desire and motivation to improve one’s lot in life and pursue recovery.

Empowerment: To move forward, recovering people need to have a sense of their own capability, their own power.

Self-Responsibility: Setting one’s own goals and pathways, taking one’s own risks, and learning one’s own lessons are essential parts of a recovery journey.

A Sense of Belonging: People recovering from addiction need to feel the acceptance, care and love of other people, and to be considered a person of value and worth.

Mutual Support: People in recovery stress the importance of having someone believe in them, particularly when they don’t believe in themselves.

Involvement in Meaningful Activities: May involve employment or volunteering, engagement in hobbies or other leisure activities, or connecting with other organisations or groups.

Understanding: People with substance use problems and those on a recovery journey need to understand that addiction is generally a symptom of a deeper underlying problem.

Gaining a Postitive Identity: At the heart of most successful decisions to exit drug misuse is the recognition by individuals that their identities have been seriously damaged by their addiction and the lifestyle that accompanies it.

Overcoming Stigma: Stigma can create feelings of shame, blame, self-disgust, self-hatred and hopelessness, and impact badly on self-esteem and self-efficacy.

Overcoming Withdrawal Symptoms: After stopping long-term use of substances, a person might experience withdrawal effects which can be irritating, debilitating and even life-threatening.

(Gaining) Recovery Capital: Recovery capital is the quantity and quality of internal and external resources that one can bring to bear on the initiation and maintenance of recovery.

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