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How Long Should You Plan to Recover?

Recovery lasts from now on. Addiction is not something like the flu that eventually goes away. There’s no point at which you can say, “I have achieved sobriety so now I can have a drink.” Addiction remakes your brain and the habits created by addiction are deep. Using again reactivates the old pathways and the old behavior comes back immediately. Addiction is like riding a bike–you never really forget.

Detox takes a couple of weeks, give or take, depending on the drug, the extent of the addiction, and how the detox is done. Detox is the part that includes withdrawal and the most intense cravings. After that, treatment at an inpatient center typically lasts 30 to 90 days. Those are the parts of recovery you can plan for to some extent.

After detox and treatment, it’s best to plan to make meetings and therapy a regular part of your week. Just as you have to eat, sleep, and exercise, you have to go to therapy and meetings. Those are maintenance activities. You might eventually stop needing regular therapy, but meetings continue to be useful. Not only is it good to be reminded what happens if you relapse, but supporting other addicts in recovery is part of your recovery.

You can never let your guard down because addiction always wants back in. If you spend 10 years sober, you bet some little voice in the back of your head will say, “Hey, look at that, 10 years sober. We have this thing beat. I bet we could have a beer with dinner, no problem.” A long stretch of sobriety is no guarantee. People do relapse after long time in recovery.

Despite that, it does get easier the longer you stay in recovery. Cravings come and go, but gradually diminish in intensity. You never really stop thinking about your drug of choice but it gets easier to stay away from it. The important thing is never to take recovery for granted. Don’t assume you can resist temptation and certainly don’t think you can stop once you start.

Recovery is a long term commitment and you have to work on it every day, but you only stay in recovery one day at a time. It’s a process that evolves as you go. You have to build routines and social support into your life that will do some of the healthy lifting. Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and make a plan for long-term recovery. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.