Clients in treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) benefit from setting realistic goals and monitoring their progress. Recovery from substance abuse takes time, and the healing journey is not linear. Often, clients require multiple levels of care over the course of months or years to ensure they feel comfortable maintaining sobriety independently. The clinical team at New Creation helps clients achieve success in recovery by providing them with treatment tools to set and meet recovery goals in long-term treatment.
According to the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, “Research has consistently found that regardless of treatment modality, longer retention in treatment is associated with better outcomes in terms of substance use, mental health, and societal costs.” Long-term residential (RTC) or outpatient programs offer clients straightforward markers for tracking progress over time. Yearly check-ins allow clients and their care team to celebrate successes and adjust treatment as needed to ensure the best outcome.
The Importance of Tracking Treatment Progress
Many people struggle to maintain motivation over time. Marking yearly treatment progress increases self-motivation and self-confidence. In addition, clinicians use progress tracking to provide better client care by ensuring treatment remains on track to meet set recovery goals.
Tracking yearly progress markers during treatment does the following:
- Encourages self-accountability and increases self-awareness
- Reduces the risk of relapse by keeping clients engaged in their recovery
- Improves treatment outcomes by ensuring treatments are effective
Clients in recovery self-monitor changes in thoughts, beliefs, moods, and behaviors using various methods. Some individuals may monitor the reduction in symptoms, while others only track abstinence to gauge the effectiveness of recovery. The care team at New Creation helps clients discover which methods work best for their lifestyle, needs, and goals.
Navigating Relapse When Tracking Yearly Success in Recovery
Emotional and physical relapse are symptoms of SUD. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Relapse rates for drug use are similar to rates for other chronic medical illnesses.” Approximately 40-60% of individuals in treatment relapse at some point. “Relapse serves as a sign for resumed, modified, or new treatment.” New Creation uses relapse prevention education to help clients avoid or recover from relapse. The care team guides clients through identifying what may contribute to relapse and finding healthy ways to address those issues.
Navigating relapse when tracking yearly success in recovery is not always easy. However, most clients benefit from recognizing relapse as something to be accepted and avoided in the future instead of seeing it as a moral failing. The focus should remain on making positive lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of relapse during the first twelve months of treatment. New Creation helps individuals who have previously relapsed start a new path toward long-term recovery.
Chronic Relapse and Long-Term Treatment
Individuals who have undergone several rounds of treatment and relapse often benefit from more extended treatment programs. Spending months or years in treatment gives clients the space and time to build a solid foundation for sobriety. Studies have shown that long-term treatment programs “minimize the effects of continuing use and abuse through education, counseling, and self-help groups that stress reducing risky behavior, building new relationships with drug-free friends, changing recreational activities and lifestyle patterns.” Clients learn to develop self-accountability in a structured environment. A history of chronic relapse doesn’t mean a client won’t successfully recover from SUD.
New Creation provides clients who have a history of chronic relapse with the tools they need to successfully maintain long-term abstinence. Tracking yearly markers of change is essential for individuals who have previously experienced chronic relapses. Seeing the proof they successfully achieved 12 months of sobriety increases self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. In addition, reaching a year of abstinence reduces the risk of relapse and other recovery complications.
Yearly Markers of Change in Mental and Physical Health
The first year of sobriety is pivotal in establishing healthy routines and making necessary lifestyle changes. New Creation encourages clients to regularly check their progress and monitor goals. Yearly markers are an important part of recognizing personal growth and healing. In addition, clinicians use monthly and yearly check-ins to determine if clients would benefit from changes to their services or programs.
Individuals mark yearly changes in several ways, including:
- Keeping mood or behavior journals and comparing date entries a year apart
- Asking loved ones if they have noticed changes in mood, behavior, or temperament
- Setting new yearly goals and checking treatment progress with the care team
Not all changes are positive. Some people in recovery replace substance abuse with other addictive behaviors, including excessive internet use, gambling, or gaming addiction. Many people monitor their progress using therapeutic techniques learned in individual and group therapy sessions. Therapy provides clients with the skills they need to maintain sobriety and avoid developing additional addictive behaviors. According to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, “Cognitive therapy is one of the main tools for changing people’s negative thinking and developing healthy coping skills.”
Establishing Recovery Goals
Part of recovering from substance abuse involves setting achievable and realistic goals. Clinicians collaborate with clients to create detailed care plans. According to Behavioral Sciences, “Many experts have called for routine monitoring as key to detecting symptoms early enough to re-intervene before a lapse into use or relapse into addiction occurs.” Setting goals makes it easier for clients and their care team to track progress, monitor mental health during treatment, and identify potential problems before they occur.
How to Create Achievable and Realistic Goals
Creating achievable and realistic goals improves outcomes for individuals in treatment. Marking yearly progress is often more helpful when clients have made noticeable improvements and maintained healthy behaviors. Setting practical and attainable goals decreases the risk of relapse by helping clients stay motivated during every stage of recovery.
Healthy goals feature the following:
- Specific timelines
- Measurable results
- Attainable objectives
- Realistic expectations
Clients work with their care team to identify problems and create solutions for positive change. In many cases, goals are broken down into smaller milestones. For example, instead of creating a goal of “staying sober,” someone in recovery may focus on “staying sober one month at a time.” Clinicians help clients prepare for success by guiding them through creating attainable goals.
What Does Success in Recovery Look Like?
In early recovery, clients sometimes struggle to control their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. During the first 12 months of treatment, clients learn to effectively manage their condition, cope with stressors, and overcome challenges. People generally determine their success in recovery by looking at how their feelings, actions, and thought patterns have changed over time.
Defining Success in Recovery
Establishing yearly markers in treatment encourages clients to look back at their progress. However, defining success is a highly personal process. Some clients only feel successful if they fail to relapse and remain abstinent for the entire year, regardless of their mental or physical well-being. Others regard success as increased quality of life and ability to function despite one or more relapses within the year. According to Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, “Addiction treatment and recovery are multifaceted processes, and treatment success cannot be determined by a single metric.”
Defining success helps clients maintain motivation for continued recovery. Clinicians at New Creation collaborate with clients to determine the best way to approach the idea of success in treatment. Recovery goals and care plans are personalized to each client’s unique personal, cultural, and spiritual needs.
Planning for Success in Recovery
Creating a comprehensive plan for success often involves multiple levels of care and aftercare services. According to Psychiatric Services, “Continuing care that included both primary care and specialty care management to support ongoing monitoring, self-care, and treatment as needed was important for the long-term recovery of patients with substance use disorders.” The care team at New Creation ensures all clients have access to aftercare resources, alumni support, and essential community-based services to ensure continued sobriety after treatment.
3 Ways to Measure Success in Recovery
People measure success in many different ways. Sometimes, the change is so gradual clients don’t notice their progress in building a healthier lifestyle until someone points it out. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), success in recovery is “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Below are three ways people in recovery track and measure success.
#1. Improved Mental Health
Substance abuse of any kind negatively affects mental health. Some people with SUD also have co-occurring mental health disorders or underlying issues affecting their emotional well-being. Addiction recovery programs provide clients with the stability and structure to establish healthy routines and emotional stability. Evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies also improve mental health during treatment. According to the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, “Findings suggest that SUD interventions—especially mindfulness-based and affect-regulation treatments—indeed significantly reduce negative emotion.”
Individuals in recovery track mental health changes in multiple ways, including:
- Regular clinical mental health assessments
- Tracking mood, behaviors, and emotional responses using an app, journal, or other tool
- Discussing changes with loved ones, peers, or members of the care team
Everyone has different ways of tracking changes in their emotional stability. Some people rely on their support system to help them monitor their mental health, while others use more hands-on methods. The clinical team at New Creation helps clients determine what approach works best for their unique circumstances.
#2. Feeling in Control
Substance abuse often makes people feel out of control and overwhelmed. Healing from the effects of substance abuse allows clients to regain control of their lives. Treatment services often focus on providing clients with the resources they need to gain steady employment, education, and financial stability. Successful treatment ensures clients feel in control and able to cope with daily stressors.
New Creation uses family therapy and other services to help clients heal. Family therapy is an excellent tool for guiding clients through regaining control of their day-to-day lives. Often, unhealthy family dynamics contribute to the development of substance abuse. Building healthier relationships increases self-esteem and self-confidence, making it easier for clients to reclaim control of their lives.
#3. Increased Physical Health
Physical health directly affects a person’s moods, thoughts, and behaviors. Individuals recovering from SUD or dual diagnosis often have physical symptoms or side effects impacting their overall health. According to NIDA, “People with addiction often have one or more associated health issues, which could include lung or heart disease, stroke, cancer, or mental health conditions.” The effects may be cumulative and take significant time to reverse after a person begins treatment. New Creation encourages clients to engage in healthy activities to repair physical damage caused by substance abuse. Tracking changes in physical health helps clients monitor their recovery.
Success in Recovery Motivates Healthy Long-Term Changes
Recovering from substance abuse requires people to change ingrained habits and routines. For many people, it takes months or years to identify and replace maladaptive patterns with healthy alternatives. Establishing new behaviors and routines reduces the risk of relapse and makes it easier for clients to maintain focus and hope during long-term recovery.
New Creation encourages clients to approach recovery goals and long-term changes from a positive perspective. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “Studies have found that optimism is related to fewer symptoms of depression, higher levels of wellbeing, lower attrition rates, and stronger perceptions of social support.” In addition, “Optimists generally have more positive than negative expectations and tend to report less distress in their daily lives, even in the face of challenges.”
Holistic Treatments Help Clients Achieve Success in Recovery
The whole-person treatments at New Creation address all aspects of a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. According to Frontiers in Psychiatry, “Some evidence shows the effect of [complementary and alternative medicine] practices, such as mindfulness meditation (MM) and motivational enhancement, in decreasing SUD relapse and substance-related injuries.” Clinicians use holistic therapies, including yoga and breathwork, to help clients stay focused on the present and engaged in their recovery.
Whole-person treatment combines evidence-based and alternative therapies to ensure the best possible outcomes. A few forms of holistic therapy include:
- Art and music therapy
- Sound bath
- Massage therapy
- Mindfulness-based techniques
Holistic treatments increase self-awareness, making it easier for clients to track their goals and progress. The clinical team at New Creation provides clients with a wide range of complementary treatments and services to ensure they have the right tools to successfully manage recovery.
How Does New Creation Support Success in Recovery?
New Creation supports clients and alumni by offering a complete continuum of care and comprehensive aftercare services. The care team helps clients stay on track as they navigate years of recovery. Skill development, psychoeducation, and other essential services create a solid foundation for long-term recovery and give clients the tools they need to overcome challenges related to their condition.
Success in recovery involves the following:
- Abstinence from drugs or alcohol
- Improved mental health
- Reduced symptoms of SUD and co-occurring conditions
- Improved quality of life
Clients are shown how to track their progress and anticipate potential issues during the early stages of treatment. Recognizing problem areas and using essential life skills to develop coping strategies ensures clients have a greater chance of long-term success during recovery.
Establishing Yearly Markers Prepares Clients for Lifelong Success in Recovery
New Creation encourages clients to establish yearly markers of success to pave the way for lifelong sobriety. Every client has different recovery goals they can use to track progress. The care team regularly updates client treatment plans to ensure objectives remain relevant and appropriate for their level of care. Yearly markers allow clients to track the significant changes they have experienced during early recovery.
Examples of yearly markers clients may set include:
- Avoiding all forms of substance abuse or misuse
- Staying engaged in treatment
- Consistently participating in support group meetings and individual therapy
- Establishing healthy coping mechanisms to overcome challenges in recovery
- Repairing or strengthening relationships with loved ones
- Achieving education or career goals
- Prioritizing and regularly practicing self-care
Clients may choose highly personal or more general yearly markers to track treatment progress. The markers act as guidestones on the road to recovery. Every year builds on the last, improving client confidence and motivation to continue moving forward.
Successfully recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) often takes months or years of professional addiction recovery and mental health treatment. Everyone has a different healing journey. New Creation uses personalized care plans to ensure clients receive the level of support they need to establish and maintain sobriety long-term. The care team helps clients set yearly markers for tracking progress in recovery. Monitoring changes makes it easier for clinicians and clients to notice positive changes and identify areas where treatment might need to be adjusted. New Creation uses evidence-based and alternative holistic methods to treat clients and provide them with essential skills for successful recovery. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (877) 868-5730.