Your addiction recovery journey will be personal and unique to you, but there are similarities in the stories of people who\u2019ve recovered. There are things to both do and not do to maximize your success. Do: Celebrate your wins so far.\u00a0 Individual steps make a journey, and it\u2019s important to acknowledge the ones taken in the right direction. The good feeling that success brings us is often a powerful motivator to continue to work toward a goal. Celebrating a win doesn\u2019t always involve a public display\u2014although it can. Still, it\u2019s essential to take time to acknowledge the victory, at least to yourself, and to savor the feel-good chemicals that wins can help your body produce. Celebrating wins can be especially crucial for people in addiction recovery. One of the chemicals that success can produce is dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter most closely associated with substance abuse. A significant recovery goal is to teach yourself to find joy in things besides drugs and alcohol.\u00a0 This undertaking may be challenging in the beginning because substance abuse tends to alter the way your body produces and handles dopamine and other brain chemicals. Be patient with yourself and remember that your brain needs time to heal fully. If you take time to celebrate and acknowledge your successes, you can better associate good feelings with positive action. If you don\u2019t take the time, you rob yourself of the opportunity to let your win be a foundation for future success. Your brain can get the message that the action isn\u2019t a priority or worth repeating. How you choose to celebrate your win is up to you. Maybe it will feel like enough to write it in a journal or cross it off a goals list. Perhaps you\u2019ll want to celebrate with a favorite meal.\u00a0 Sharing your successes with close friends and family members can help reinforce them. Maybe you can set a specific time each week to check in with a friend and share each of your week\u2019s successes with each other. Don\u2019t: Get complacent in your addiction recovery. Experts classify addiction as a chronic brain disease. It\u2019s similar in many ways to other chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. All of them have a genetic component, and some people are more susceptible than others. They can also all be influenced by the environment and managed with ongoing attention to lifestyle factors.\u00a0 The positive side of complacency is that it\u2019s generally a sign that things are going well with your recovery. Things are going so well that you\u2019ve developed confidence in your ability to succeed. The problem comes when you think you can have the same results you\u2019ve been having without continuing what you\u2019ve been doing. Just as people with heart disease and diabetes need to maintain healthy habits, so do people in addiction recovery. One significant recovery task is for healthy coping and self-care skills to become habitual. Even then, however, it\u2019s important not to become complacent. Unfortunately, we\u2019re all capable of losing good habits, as anyone who once had a workout routine but does no longer will verify. It\u2019s important not to forget why the habit developed and to monitor yourself for signs of slipping continually. It\u2019s also necessary to monitor your thoughts. Sometimes thoughts are just below the surface of consciousness, and we aren\u2019t fully aware of them until we focus our attention there. Some people find writing in a journal helpful for that. Thoughts that can be problematic include these: \tI\u2019ve been doing so well. I\u2019m sure I could have one drink or take one hit without a problem. \tLife has been so stressful lately. Using drugs or alcohol will help me calm down and be a better person to be around. \tMost people seem to be able to use substances without becoming addicted. I\u2019m sure I can, too. \tThere\u2019s something I want to celebrate. It doesn\u2019t feel like a real celebration without using. \tBeing abstinent makes me feel different. I\u2019ll consume just enough that I can fit in with my friends. \tI was happier when I was using.\u00a0 \tI think I can use and not get caught. If you realize you\u2019re having these or similar thoughts, don\u2019t ignore them. Take some time to focus on all the negative consequences of substance abuse and talk to your counselor or a supportive friend. Do: Continue to seek therapy and peer support after residential treatment. Residential treatment is a great way to start your recovery journey. You\u2019re able to focus on yourself and your needs while you\u2019re surrounded by people who understand the struggle and are cheering you on. Recreating those positive aspects of treatment when you return home is very wise.\u00a0 When you continue therapy, you have a professional on your team who can help you monitor your progress, encourage you and help you make adjustments when necessary. Your therapist will have experience and perspective you don\u2019t have.\u00a0 Peer support is also vital. The research is clear that addiction recovery is enhanced when people make changes to their social circle, especially when they spend time with people in recovery. Fellow travelers on the recovery road can serve as role models and sources of practical support. They can also become a new social network, providing you with sober activities and people to enjoy them with you. Don\u2019t: Expect your addiction recovery to look like someone else\u2019s. Everyone\u2019s recovery journey is different. People achieve a sober lifestyle in different ways and maintain it in different ways, as well. Some types of addictions are often managed with medications and others typically aren\u2019t. Some people find that one round of professional treatment is enough, but others find that they need to build on what they\u2019ve learned by returning to rehab.\u00a0 The problem with comparisons is that they can be discouraging. The danger is that if someone else\u2019s recovery looks easier, you can begin to think that there\u2019s something wrong with you and that you\u2019ll never succeed, and that can rob you of the desire to keep trying. Remember that you\u2019re a unique individual, and your journey will be unique as well.\u00a0 Do: Prioritize self-care and using your coping skills. You\u2019ll learn self-care and coping skills in treatment, but lasting recovery involves more than knowledge. You need to apply what you\u2019ve learned to your situation. Relapses can happen at any time but are most likely when you\u2019re under stress. If you\u2019ve prioritized self-care and built productive and positive routines, they\u2019ll seem more like second nature when a stressful situation strikes.\u00a0 Building healthy routines and habits requires motivating yourself and reminding yourself. Motivation can come from something as simple as a pro\/con list you keep on your smartphone or in your wallet. You can list the probable consequences of returning to substance use and the benefits of staying sober. Maybe you\u2019ll want to put some motivational posters in your home or find some pictures of the life you hope to live. Reminding yourself to do things like exercise, meditate or write in a journal can be simplified by setting alarms. You can also ask a friend or family member to call at a prearranged time to remind and motivate you. Sometimes having external accountability can be very helpful. Don\u2019t: Return to people or places that could trigger you. Your brain has learned to associate substance use with certain environmental factors. Sometimes a seemingly small trigger, like a smell or a sound, can initiate cravings. Larger reminders, like places you frequently consumed your substance of choice, can be very problematic, and it\u2019s best to avoid them.\u00a0\u00a0 Some places are impossible to avoid, such as your own home. If you associate your home with substance use, it can help to rearrange or replace furniture or paint the walls a different color. You want to give your brain the message that things are different now. Giving up substance-using friends is often one of the most emotionally challenging parts of the recovery journey. Humans are social creatures, and we need connection with others to be emotionally strong. The goal is to replace unhealthy connections with healthy ones and spend time with people who support your goals rather than those who don\u2019t.\u00a0 One advantage of residential treatment in an addiction recovery center is that it removes you from substance-using peers\u2019 influences, and it\u2019s necessary to build on that. Research shows that not only is who you hang around with significant, but the effects grow with time. True for both the negative consequences of spending time with substance-using friends and the positive benefits of being with abstinent ones, who you spend time with and how much time you spend can substantially affect your recovery success. Do: Share your story - you could save someone\u2019s life. Is there someone who\u2019s been especially important to you on your recovery journey? You can be that person for someone else. Sharing your substance abuse\u2019s negative consequences can help others see similar consequences in their own life and sharing your successes can inspire them.\u00a0 You can help others learn new tools for success or remind them to use those they already have. The stakes are high, and the task of helping people escape the trap of addiction is vitally important. No matter where you are in your recovery journey, we can support you. We have a wide variety of treatment options, including residential treatment, outpatient programs, and virtual services, and we can help you find your way to a better, healthier you. Call us today to find out what service is best for you or your loved one at 844.675.1628.