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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

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Drug Abuse and Dependence - Recovery

Recovery from 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 school.

Recovery isn't a cure. It is an ongoing process. There are 10 principles of recovery that can help you reach your goals and learn new things to help yourself.

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 12-step groups, 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 drug-free.
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