Recovery is not always a linear path. Sometimes it takes several tries and treatment programs to find the right one. If you or someone you know is living with addiction, it can sometimes feel like these turns are setbacks on the recovery journey, but that’s not necessarily the case. Remember, each person’s recovery is different. What works best for one person may not work for the next. Understanding the many ways people can recover is an important step to maintaining a treatment plan.

Addiction and Mental Health Go Hand in Hand

There are underlying factors that trigger addiction and often these mental health concerns must be addressed to impact an addiction issue long term. A 2014 study by the National Institute of Mental Health reported nearly 8 million adults had both a substance use disorder and another mental health issue. Mental health issues and substance use disorders can both be attributed to environmental and biological factors, and often these conditions go hand in hand. It is important to seek treatment that addresses both conditions to get to the root cause of the addiction.

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Understand Triggers

A big part of recovery is learning more about what causes you to make choices you want to avoid. Sometimes triggers are hard to identify and this may require the help of a health care professional. Keeping a mood journal or diary can help track the situations and emotions that may lead to substance use.

Relapse is Part of Recovery, It Does Not Mean You Have to Start Over

Often the word relapse evokes feelings of shame or failure but, in reality, most people who attempt recovery will experience at least one slip. It’s important to accept relapse as a possible bump along the recovery journey, but not a roadblock. Relapse does not erase the progress made in treatment or the achievements along the way, such as getting a new job, reconnecting with family or friends, being present for a child and much more.

Addiction Recovery is a Lifelong Journey

This statement might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Treatment provides tools that help make recovery an attainable lifestyle, one day at a time (see Outpatient Drug Rehab in Richmond). Recovery is thought of as a lifelong journey because different life stages can bring about new stressors. Understanding personal triggers and how to respond to them in a healthy way can arm someone for long-term recovery success.

If you or someone you know is living with addiction and interested in help with recovery, please reach out to us at 833-505-HOPE or by using our live chat at

Anna M. Gaddy

Anna Gaddy is Vice President, Behavioral Health for CleanSlate.