Drug Abuse and Dependence - Recovery
drug abuse or
dependence means finding a way to stay drug-free while
changing your attitudes and behaviors. In recovery, you work to restore
relationships with your family and friends and with people at your job or
Recovery isn't a cure. It is a lifelong
process. There are
10 principles of recovery(What is a PDF document?) that can help you reach your goals and learn new things to
To help stay
drug-free after treatment, you can find things to do, such as
sports or volunteer work. Stay away from friends or family members who use
drugs. Learn how to say
"no" to alcohol and drugs.
An important part of recovery is being
sure you have support. You can:
- Develop and use social support and support groups. Support comes in many forms. You can find it in seminars and
groups led by professionals, in
and in your relationships with family and friends. You can make support groups
more helpful by
being an active member.
- Connect with family and friends. They can
help you by encouraging positive steps. But you have to be honest about your problems.
- Take part in recovery group activities. You may have used
drugs to make friends or be with a social group. Your counselor or doctor can
help you learn skills to make friends without using drugs.
- Find a
sponsor, and work with this person. A sponsor is
someone who has been in recovery for a long time and helps you stay
Lapse and relapse
Stopping drug use is very hard.
It's normal to have setbacks, even years later. Very few people succeed the
first time they try. A lapse or
relapse is likely.
- A lapse is the first time you use a drug
again after you have quit, or brief episodes of drug use later
- A relapse is not being able to stay drug-free over time. It can
occur if you have a series of lapses close together or a lapse that leads to
heavier drug use over a longer period. A relapse is most likely to happen a few
months after you have quit using drugs.
A lapse or relapse doesn't mean that you or your treatment has
failed. It may mean that you just slipped up. You also may need more treatment,
another type of treatment, or more time in support groups such as Narcotics
It's smart to
plan for a relapse before it happens. Your doctor, family, and friends can
help you do this.
A healthy lifestyle
Part of recovery is finding
your way back to a healthy lifestyle.
- Exercise and be active. This may give
you something to do instead of thinking about drugs, and it also can help
- Relieve stress. Stress can trigger a
relapse. Stress-relief exercises can help.
- Get enough sleep to
help your mood and to help you feel less stressed.
- Eat a balanced diet. This helps your body deal with tension and stress. Whole
grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and protein are part of a balanced
- Meditate. It helps you feel calm and can give you a clearer awareness about your life.