Factors of Early Recovery

Early Recovery, woman watching sunset on the beach

By Cristina Utti MFA, MA

When someone realizes that they need help with a substance abuse problem, the journey to recovery begins. Inpatient treatment may be necessary for those with chronic addiction or for those who need to detox in a safe environment. According to a meta-analysis of 14 studies on alcohol abuse treatment, inpatient treatment was found to be more effective than outpatient treatment in only five of the studies. People who became involved with twelve step groups had a better chance of sustained recovery one year later.

While inpatient treatment is a safe and effective path to sobriety, it will not work when clients think that their journey is done after treatment ends. Recovery is a life-long process. A quality inpatient treatment program will offer aftercare to clients to ensure that they continue to receive support after their time in inpatient ends.

Becoming involved in a self-help group such as AA, NA, SMART Recovery or similar meetings helps those in recovery build a network of sober friends. These groups offer a place to go to learn how to get through life one day at a time.

The article “Important Factors of Early Addiction Recovery and Inpatient Treatment,” written by Shumway, Spencer, Bradshaw, Harris, and Baker, states that there are four main factors that play a vital part in maintaining sobriety.

These are:

1. Hope – Hope is defined as “a reawakening after despair.” When hope is intrinsically felt, one gains the confidence to change their life.
2. Resilience – Resilience is defined as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant amounts of stress.” People who have resilience apply the tools that they learn in recovery programs to their everyday life.
3. Family Functioning – The families of those in recovery play an important role in the process. Addiction is now seen as a ‘family disease.’ Each family member’s willingness to change directly affects the person in recovery, and vice-versa.
4. Readiness for Change – This is the belief that change is possible. The individual has the willingness and desire to do what it takes to change the behavior patterns of depending on substances.

The importance of aftercare cannot be stressed highly enough. Inpatient care gives the person a building block from which to grow in sobriety. It raises hope and gives tools for being resilient. Most inpatient treatment centers will offer family and/or couple counseling as well.

If you are thinking of inpatient rehab for yourself or a loved one, congratulations! This is the first step.

When researching treatment centers, be sure to ask what plans they have in place for aftercare.

If you think you may have an addiction problem, contact the Ranch at Dove Tree today. 806.307.2003.

Sterling T. Shumway, Spencer D. Bradshaw, Kitty S. Harris & Amanda K. Baker (2013) Important Factors of Early Addiction Recovery and Inpatient Treatment, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 31:1, 3-24, DOI: 10.1080/07347324.2013.747313