A question often frantically asked by those seeking recovery from themselves or a loved one, what is the success rate? I’ve heard relapse is so common and treatment doesn’t mean it’ll get better.

Some of the statistics are frightening. So many factors go into these figures that it can be hard to navigate.  What constitutes success differs from study to study.  We often hear anywhere from 25% all the way down to 5%.  But what does that mean?

Let’s use the analogy of a fitness club membership.  If one is overweight and out of shape, what is the success rate of joining a fitness club? Studies show roughly 5% of people lose weight and keep it off.

Now, does that mean that fitness clubs don’t work?  Let’s see what it would take just starting out to get and stay in shape:

1. Join the gym
2. Stop eating unhealthy foods
3. Meet with a friend or trainer and learn the exercises
4. Regularly attend and complete these exercises
5. Get enough sleep and eat enough healthy food to have energy to exercise
6. Possibly have friends to go with, or classes to attend that keep you accountable.
7. Eventually change the way you view your health, and living a lifestyle conducive to it.

Simply seeing a weight loss doctor or joining a gym WILL NOT guarantee you get in shape.  This is simply the beginning.   For someone that does all of the above, the chances of being healthier are almost perfect.  For those that don’t, they are likely to not see results. Further, if you just exercise, but don’t eat healthily (or vice versa), you won’t get the best results.  It is a package deal, that if followed, WILL lead to a healthier life.

Recovery is much the same.  Going to treatment separates one from drugs and alcohol.  Medications are adjusted and our minds become clear.  We connect with others to join us or guide us in our recovery.  We learn about recovery, and deal with issues in therapy that can be life changing.  We’re a toolbox full of recovery tools to use when we leave and start our new life.

Lets look at what it takes:

1. Go to treatment
2. Attend groups
3. Meet with counselors
4. Build a recovery network
5. Get a sponsor
6. Attend meetings
7. Work steps
8. Have a homegroup
9. Do service
10. Help someone new
11. Change the way we view life, and live a life conducive to our recovery and ultimately our happiness.

If we follow the suggestions and recommendations of those caring for us in treatment, we have an amazing chance at a new way of life.  Please, never let statistics scare you, we are all individuals.  Much like fitness, you get out of recovery what you put in to your recovery.

Please share some suggestions you would offer to those seeking recovery.

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