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No two processes for recovery from drug addiction are the same. Everyone’s drug addiction recovery process will be a little different. However, most people will share some similar experiences with addiction and drug treatment. There are a number of good things to keep in mind as you consider drug treatment and a sober lifestyle. These do’s and don’ts can keep you going in the right direction for sobriety.

Participate in drug treatment

People, particularly women, often feel they fall into the stereotype that they are weak and helpless when in the grips of an addiction. And reaching out for help only bolsters that notion of worthlessness. Nothing could be further from the truth, but a woman crushed by an addiction could easily take this perspective. Getting help from a drug treatment program is a sign of strength and courage. It takes a lot of guts to step over your ego and admit you can’t do it alone.

Be as honest as possible

Your mind is probably used to being dishonest if you are a drug addict or a problem drinker. In fact, you may know you have trouble telling the truth apart from the excuses and lies. The lies can come from many directions – others who are addicted and not in recovery, your mind as influenced by addiction, people in your life who have hurt you. Also, you may have gone through many painful things, and facing the truth was just too much to handle most of the time. Even when your body is sober, it may be tough to speak the truth to yourself and out loud to another person. Be patient with yourself and take it one step at a time. Trustworthy counselors can help you gently coax the truth out into the open. As you get used to it, you can better appreciate the benefits from working with the truth instead of struggling with lies.

Don’t think of drug rehab as a cure

There are no known cures for drug addiction or alcohol abuse. Many people become sober and never use again, but others go through numerous cycles of sobriety and relapse. Working your sobriety plan can make relapse less likely. However, remember that each person is an individual so it may be difficult to completely explain one person’s repeated relapses and another person’s long stretch of sobriety. Recovering from alcohol or drug abuse is a continuing process.

Don’t worry about going to rehab more than once

You may need to go to drug rehab more than once in your life to stay on track. Probably not everyone’s dream, but in an entire lifetime it is certainly possible. However, it’s no reason to think you are some kind of worthless failure if you need drug treatment a second or even third time. Your recovery journey may just require more support at certain points in your life. f you are still breathing, still living, and still working on a sober lifestyle, then you still have hope every day to keep on going.

Recovery goes for a lifetime

Perhaps the biggest thing to remember is that recovery lasts for a lifetime. Drug rehab is actually a small blip on the radar compared to the days and months and years of independent or supported sober living. While drug treatment is an important part of recovery, it is just one part.

There’s more to it than meetings

Most people in traditional recovery harp on the idea that “meeting makers make it.” Going to daily Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous meetings is typically seen as a lifeline to strong recovery. Why would anyone argue against those helpful meetings? It is not suggested to skip those meetings, but don’t rely solely on them for your continued success in recovery.

You can test this yourself without risking relapse. Simply cut back from your meetings, and see how you feel. If you go to AA every single day, try skipping a day here and there and see if it affects you. Some people find that it changes their attitude and their outlook when they miss a meeting.

Recovery from drug or alcohol abuse is really a continuous cycle of personal growth, a constant reinvention of the self. People could achieve this state of growth both in and out of 12-step programs. You can achieve this cycle of personal growth by being in alternative programs, religious-based programs, or in no program at all. The key was in the personal growth, not in the specific program of recovery.

So by all means, you (or anyone else) can keep going to 12-step meetings every day. Continue to do so if you get value out of them. But do not rely on those meetings in order to sustain your recovery. If you do, then this points to a glaring weakness in your own recovery process. Personal growth outside of 12-step meetings should be enough to sustain your recovery. If it is not then your dependency is making you weaker, not stronger.