What Is a Successful Recovery?

Man using drugs

I hear this a lot when talking with addicts or their loved ones who are searching for the best place to find help: “How do I know this will work? How do I know they won’t relapse as soon as they walk out of the door?”

A lot of family members have done the treatment song and dance before, and for a lot of addicts and their family members, treatment doesn’t seem to be the answer, simply because an addict has relapsed multiple times and continued to make drugs their life. The hesitation to send an addict to a treatment program that doesn’t seem to be working makes sense, and ultimately it will be up to the individual to stay clean no matter what facility they go to. But as I sit here today, living proof that a successful recovery is possible, I also know that an approach that isn’t working needs to be addressed.

The truth I have found is that every individual is different, and the root of their addiction is unique and for a lot of treatment centers, relapse-prevention and the notion that relapse can and will occur is a common theme and a widely accepted concept. It’s been my experience that simplifying the road to recovery, in the sense of getting to the bottom of what’s going on while also taking steps that don’t involve taking more drugs to feel better both physically and mentally is not only the most successful action to take but also the most liberating way to begin living a worthwhile life. 

This concept that I need a maintenance program for the rest of my life that also includes drugs for cravings, drugs for sleep, drugs for depression, and drugs for any other uncomfortable feeling I had was not something that was keeping me away from addiction. Sometimes I could keep it at an arm’s length, but it was always following me around and in the back of my mind. I wanted something different, something that would separate me from addiction for good. I wanted a recovery that made addiction a part of my past, not a part of my present or future.

That’s what I got in my last program and exactly why drugs and addiction are part of my past—something I will never fully forget, something I had to learn from to get better, but also something I don’t live with anymore. 

I am free of it, and it did take some work for me to get there. I did a three-month program with steps that were individualized for me, got the drugs out of my system where I felt like myself for the first time in ages to where I could make changes that meant something and were going to last. Those changes brought me to the person I am today. My actions and behavior are driven not by addiction but by rational thought and logic. When I am thinking and making decisions with my best interests at heart, I don’t have the cravings and temptations anymore to go sabotage my life

“Truth be told, I’ve never felt better, more alive, or more myself. I was one of those addicts who didn’t think a day like this was possible.”  
Man is sitting in a caffe and thinking.

I did not get to that point overnight, and I put in the work in a treatment program that allowed me to work on myself and make those changes that were necessary for me to get to where I am at today.

Truth be told, I’ve never felt better, more alive, or more myself. I was one of those addicts who didn’t think a day like this was possible. A day where I could wake up proud of the person I am, a day in which using drugs or drinking alcohol are completely removed from my thoughts. I have friends and co-workers and we enjoy each other’s company and the relationships I have with my family haven’t been this healthy since I was a child some 25-30 years ago. 

It goes back to simplifying things. After years and years of refusing to go to any treatment facility for longer than the standard 28 days, I finally decided to stop short-cutting everything and take some real time to get this right and be in a program that allowed me to heal physically and mentally and then make the changes I needed to make.

Choosing the right place and the right program for what I needed and wanted to do was the first step, but it was still ultimately me who used that program to my advantage and  I became a success story in my own right. 

That’s what a successful recovery has been to me, and now that my recovery is complete and I’m living the life I only dreamed possible not that long ago, I hope that others who are struggling can find the same peace I have found.

If you or anybody you know is seeking help, please reach out.


Drew Jambon

Drew has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 2 years. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Drew is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.