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Every two minutes, one person in the United States dies from a drug overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that from 1999 to 2021, over 932,000 Americans have lost their lives to drug overdose, highlighting that substance misuse and addiction are growing problems that demand our attention. However, there is hope in the form of addiction recovery.

This transformative journey empowers people to overcome substance use disorder (SUD) and live a fruitful life. In this pillar page, we’ll explore the various dimensions of addiction recovery, including the stages of addiction, recovery tools and relapse prevention. We’ll also highlight the importance of seeking support. 

At Landmark Recovery, we want to inspire those struggling with addiction to choose recovery over drugs and alcohol. Our mission is to save one million lives over a century. Part of that is providing valuable resources, insights, and personalized treatment options to support people on their long-term recovery journey. We believe that with the right mindset, support, and treatment, anyone can get back to life on their own terms. 

We can work together to overcome addiction and embrace a healthier, happier tomorrow.

What Is Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery is a journey toward a life free from the negative effects of drugs and alcohol. When someone says they’re “in recovery,” it means that they’ve acknowledged and are working towards overcoming a substance use disorder or addiction. 

Recovery is  an ongoing process that involves various approaches to overcome addiction, like:

  • Medical care: Many people struggling with addiction require medical care to manage addiction-related health issues. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain and changes how it functions. In some cases, addiction can lead to physical and mental health problems that require professional medical attention. Seeking addiction treatment can help manage these issues and prevent them from worsening.
  • Drug and Alcohol Counseling: This recovery element can provide people with the tools and support they need to manage addiction-related triggers, thoughts and behaviors. There are different types of counseling, such as individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy. Each type of therapy has unique benefits, and a combination of therapies may be used to teach people how to cope without drugs and alcohol.
  • Support From Loved Ones & Peers: Addiction can cause isolation and strained relationships with loved ones. However, those same family and friends can provide emotional support, encouragement and accountability to people in recovery. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can also provide a sense of community and connection.

The process of addiction recovery may differ from person to person, as everyone’s needs and experiences are unique.

What Is SAMHSA’s Working Definition Of Recovery?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs) as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” It emphasizes that recovery isn’t just about quitting drugs or alcohol, but also about creating a fulfilling and meaningful life beyond substance use.

What Are The 4 Major Dimensions Of Recovery?

SAMHSA’s definition of recovery also involves four major dimensions that support people on their journey:

  • Health
  • Home
  • Purpose
  • Community


The health dimension involves overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being. This includes seeking treatment and medical care, making positive lifestyle changes and building coping skills to manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse.


The home dimension is all about having a stable and safe place to live, but it’s more than just having a roof over your head. It’s about finding a place to live that helps you stay on the right track and feel calm and happy. This might mean finding a new place to live, fixing up relationships with family or roommates, or learning some new skills for living on your own.


The purpose dimension is about finding meaning and fulfillment in daily life, which can provide a strong foundation for addiction recovery. This may include finding a job or volunteer opportunity that aligns with your interests and values, pursuing education or training or reconnecting with family and loved ones.


The community dimension emphasizes the importance of social support in recovery. Building positive relationships and finding a sense of belonging can provide hope, encouragement and accountability. Some examples may include joining support groups, seeking out friends who don’t use substances or repairing damaged relationships.

SAMSA’s dimensions help us understand that there are many different ways to recover from addiction. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, these dimensions look at the whole person, not just their addiction. They take into account a person’s physical, emotional, and social well-being, which can all be affected by substance use.

What Is ASAM’s Definition Of Recovery?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction recovery as “a process of sustained action that addresses the biological, psychological, social and spiritual disturbances inherent in addiction.” ASAM emphasizes that addiction recovery isn’t just about working on substance use behaviors and feelings, but also involves taking care of one’s body, mind, relationships and spirit. Seeking medical help can also be an essential part of a successful addiction recovery journey, particularly for those who are on medication. 

In that case, it’s crucial to talk to a doctor who understands addiction to get the right support. According to ASAM, by taking a well-rounded approach that addresses each aspect, people can address the root causes of addiction and achieve sustained recovery.

Why Is Addiction Recovery Important?

Addiction recovery is a challenging process, but it’s also a rewarding one. It allows people to live a substance-free, healthy life and can have a positive impact on their relationships, career and overall well-being. However, many people with substance use disorders (SUD) don’t always get the help they need. Over 19 million Americans aged 12 and older struggled with addiction in 2019, but only 4.2 million received treatment, according to SAMHSA.

Repeated substance use can lead to serious physical and mental health problems, such as:

  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These issues can be debilitating and even life-threatening, not only for the person struggling with addiction but also for their loved ones. Moreover, addiction can impact a person’s ability to maintain healthy relationships and hold down a job, which can lead to financial instability and social isolation. Addiction also puts a significant burden on healthcare systems, law enforcement and social services. 

That’s why addiction recovery is important to not only help people overcome addiction but also to reduce substance use’s impact on society. Addiction recovery can help people discover their full potential and lead fulfilling lives. With the right treatment, counseling, and support, people can learn how to manage addiction-related issues, build healthy coping skills and develop meaningful relationships. 

They can also rebuild their careers and pursue their passions, contributing positively to their communities.

What Are The Stages Of Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery can be divided into six stages that come from the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavior change. Introduced in the late 1970s by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, the TTM was originally created to help people stop smoking. It has since been adapted to help people change a variety of behaviors, including substance misuse and addiction.

The six stages of addiction recovery are:

  1. Pre-contemplation: The pre-contemplation stage involves denial and a lack of awareness of the addiction problem. At this stage, people haven’t considered making any changes to their substance use behavior. They may not see any negative consequences of their addiction or may not believe their substance use is a problem.
  2. Contemplation: The contemplation stage involves acknowledging the addiction problem and considering a change. People in this stage are aware that their substance use is causing problems in their life, but they may not be ready to take action. They may be on the fence about change, weighing the pros and cons of continuing their substance use behavior versus making changes.
  3. Preparation: The preparation stage involves planning and preparing to change substance use behaviors. At this stage, people have decided to take action and may begin to set goals and make a plan for how to change their behavior. They may start seeking information about treatment options or consider attending support groups.
  4. Action: The action stage involves taking steps towards overcoming addiction, such as going to rehab or attending recovery support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). People in this stage are actively making changes to their substance use behavior and are committed to working toward recovery.  
  5. Maintenance: The maintenance stage involves taking necessary steps to maintain long-term recovery and prevent relapse, like entering a sober living home or attending an intensive outpatient program (IOP). People in this stage have achieved initial success in overcoming their addiction and are focused on maintaining their recovery.
  6. Termination: Termination is considered the final stage of addiction recovery, where someone has successfully maintained their behavior change for a while. At this stage, the person has integrated their new habits into their daily routine and no longer feels the urge to engage in the old behavior.

Each stage in the TTM is based on the idea that behavior change is a process that occurs over time. People move through each stage as they become more committed to making positive lifestyle changes.

What Are Recovery Tools For Addiction?

Recovery tools are resources and strategies that people can use to help them recover from addiction. These tools come in different forms, such as:

  • Medical Treatment: This includes medication-assisted treatment (MAT), detoxification and behavioral therapies. MAT uses medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Detox removes drugs or alcohol from the body with the help of medical professionals. Counseling and behavioral therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing help people address underlying issues and develop coping skills to prevent relapse.
  • Support Groups: These provide a sense of community and a safe space for people to share experiences and receive support from those who have gone through similar struggles. Some examples include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
  • Self-Care: Practices such as exercise, mindfulness and healthy eating promote physical and emotional well-being.

Remember that what works for one person may not work for another. Addiction recovery is highly personalized, and it’s crucial to find the tools and strategies that work best for you. It’s also important to seek professional guidance and support when choosing and utilizing recovery tools.

More Support Resources

In addition to the above-mentioned recovery tools, there are several other resources that can support people on their addiction recovery journey. 

These include:

  • Family and Friends: Having a strong support system is essential for long-term recovery. Loved ones can offer emotional support, encouragement, and accountability.
  • Holistic Therapies: These are alternative therapies that can help with physical and emotional healing. Examples include yoga, meditation, art therapy and acupuncture.
  • 12-Step Programs: These programs provide a structured approach to recovery that focuses on spiritual and moral principles. Examples include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
  • Sober Living Homes: These are residential facilities that provide a drug- and alcohol-free environment for people in early recovery. They offer support and structure to help people transition back to independent living.
  • Online Resources: There are many online resources available to support addiction recovery, such as online support groups, forums, and educational materials.
  • Faith-Based Resources: For some people, faith-based resources like prayer, spiritual retreats or religious community involvement can be a source of strength as they work toward long-term recovery. 

It’s important to remember that addiction recovery is a process, and it’s okay to try different recovery tools and strategies until you find what works best for you. Also, it’s important to seek professional help and guidance in the recovery journey, as addiction is a complex disease that can have physical, emotional and psychological effects. A qualified healthcare professional can help you choose the right recovery tools and provide ongoing support throughout the process.

Understanding Recovery and Relapse

Relapse is common during addiction recovery, and understanding its relationship to ongoing recovery is crucial. While some consider relapse to be a sign of failure, it’s actually an opportunity to learn and grow. Warning signs should be recognized to prevent relapse, like:

  • Isolation
  • Neglecting self-care
  • Intense cravings


Isolation is when someone withdraws from social activities, family, and friends. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety, which may increase the risk of relapse. People in recovery may isolate themselves as a way to avoid emotional triggers or people who use drugs or alcohol. However, isolation can create a sense of disconnection, making it harder to maintain motivation and a positive outlook on life.

To prevent relapse related to isolation, it’s important to prioritize staying connected with supportive people. This could include family members, friends or a support group. Joining a support group can provide a sense of community and help people in recovery feel less alone. Professional counseling can also be beneficial in addressing any underlying issues contributing to isolation.

Neglecting Self-Care

Neglecting self-care means not taking care of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. It can include not eating healthy, not getting enough sleep, not exercising or missing appointments with your therapist or support group. As a result, this can cause stress and anxiety, which can make you more likely to relapse. 

To prevent this, it’s important to prioritize taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising and attending your therapy or support group meetings regularly. This will help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of relapse.

Intense Cravings

Intense cravings mean really wanting to use drugs or alcohol, and they can happen a lot during recovery. Cravings can be caused by different things, like:

  • Feeling stressed
  • Boredom
  • Being around people who use drugs or alcohol

It’s okay to have cravings and doesn’t mean that a person in recovery is weak or failing. However, if cravings are too strong or don’t go away, they may make someone more likely to start using again. To stop this from happening, people in recovery can make a plan to stop relapses.

Developing A Relapse Prevention Plan

Developing a solid relapse prevention plan is important to lower the chances of going back to drugs and alcohol. It usually involves doing healthy activities like: 

  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Attending support groups
  • Eating well
  • Sleeping enough
  • Being mindful

Additionally, addressing underlying issues like past trauma or mental health disorders is crucial to maintaining long-term recovery. 

Remember, the process isn’t always straightforward, and relapses can happen. It’s important to stay patient, compassionate, and supportive during both good and bad times. To increase your chances of long-term success during addiction recovery and benefit the lives of your loved ones, it’s important to recognize that relapses can happen and take steps to prevent them.

What Can You Do To Recover From Addiction?

Addiction recovery is a critical process that helps people overcome addiction and regain control of their lives. Recovery involves different stages such as detoxification, rehabilitation, and maintenance, and relies on various recovery tools such as medical treatment, therapy, support groups and self-care. The key to successful recovery, however, is finding the right tools and strategies that work for you.

Find A Lasting Path to Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a difficult road to travel, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Landmark Recovery, we specialize in helping people choose recovery over addiction through integrated treatment and a guided recovery path.

Our experienced addiction treatment providers and dedicated staff offer a range of programs to help you achieve long-term recovery, including medical treatment, therapy, support groups and aftercare. If you or a loved one needs help, call us today at 888-448-0302 to speak with an admissions specialist and get started on the path to recovery. 

Don’t wait any longer to take back control of your life. Call us now and choose recovery over addiction.

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Choose Recovery Over Addiction

We're here 24/7 to help you get the care you need to live life on your terms, without drugs or alcohol. Talk to our recovery specialists today and learn about our integrated treatment programs.