Navigating the Season of Success in Recovery

Written by: Steven Andrews, M.A., M.Div.
Navigating the Season of Success in Recovery

One of the most difficult moments to navigate in substance use recovery is a season of success.

That may sound counterintuitive but imagine this: An addiction has destroyed your life. Alcohol, meth, or another substance has done its worse, poisoning your body and severing your relationships. You hit rock bottom. But from there, you crawled and scratched your way to healing. You went to rehab. You endured withdrawal. You went to every twelve-step meeting. You’ve earned your chips and learned to take it “one day at a time.”

You start feeling like you no longer need those same old crutches. Your life is different now. You are slowly, but surely, rebuilding the relationships that were lost. You are taking care of yourself, physically, emotionally, and financially. For the first time in a long time, you feel healthy. You feel great.

Often, a person who has achieved this kind of success is in a vulnerable position. You may feel you are strong enough to have just one drink and be okay. You may feel you can get by without the meetings and without the counseling, and so you shed the systems of support that were keeping you on the right track. You may go back to old friends—just for a quick visit—because you think you can handle it now. You may stop avoiding the substance that harmed you, because your very success leads you to think you no longer need the guardrails that got you there.

If you or someone you know has achieved a measure of success in substance use recovery, only to find addiction invading your life again, you are not alone. This is a common dynamic in the recovery process. It does not mean that the recovery process is impossible. It does not mean that you or your loved one are broken or irredeemable. It simply means you are human. People are complex beings, and sometimes even our success can be our pitfall.

If you are engaged in the process of substance use recovery, please remember that it is a process. It is a constant invitation to keep growing, keep learning, and keep doing the things that have nurtured the success you enjoy. Along the way, you may experience a variety of joys, achievements, failures, and disappointments. Nonetheless, the journey is absolutely worth the effort.

You are engaging in a lifelong process to not just beat back an addiction, but also to build a beautiful life full of meaning, purpose, and hope.

And we’re here to help you get from one step to another—one joyful, arduous, and ultimately good day at a time.