Recovery is a stage of actively abstaining from the use of a substance or behavior, and working toward developing new skills that support a life without the substance or behavior. The recovery process generally includes working on maladaptive coping patterns, triggers that might prompt a desire to return to the substance, and repairing relationships that were damaged during active addiction.

In my approach to treating addiction and recovery, I highly recommend a combination of professional treatment and solid social support. Determining what level of treatment intervention is needed depends on a variety of factors, such as how advanced the addiction is, what medical health conditions are involved, and the specific substance or behavior being abused. Treatment recommendations can range from intensive inpatient programs, outpatient services with group therapy, individual therapy, 12-step groups, or a combination of treatments.

Because people in recovery have most likely surrounded themselves with other addicts, it will be important for them to consider changes in their social circle and recreational activities. That is why learning and developing boundary-setting skills is frequently part of recovery work. Looking at patterns in all the addict’s relationships is highly beneficial in recognizing where there are enabling behaviors, codependency, boundary issues, and other forms of unhealthy relationship dynamics.

Many times family or couples therapy is a necessary part of a recovery process. It is highly unusual that a person involved in addictive behaviors has not damaged the relationships around them. A large part of our work will be to mend them.