1. Why recovering substance abusers need long term support

Substance abuse (alcoholism and drug addiction) is a significant illness that affect millions of people globally. Many people struggling with them may feel like they are alone and helpless. Knowing that long-term support is part of a recovery program makes participants more confident. Extended support can provide the necessary assistance, guidance, and encouragement to overcome substance abuse. Recenter has specific programs that provide long term assistance (see the website section on What We Do.)

Recovery from substance abuse is a long road

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2. What is substance abuse?

Substance abuse is a chronic condition that affects a person’s physical, psychological, and social well-being. It can lead to various health problems, including liver damage, cognitive impairment, and social isolation. Different chemicals damage the body in different ways. Some can cause the onset of cancer. If injected frequently, drugs can cause vein collapse and significantly increase the risk of HIV and hepatitis. The cycle of substance abuse can make it challenging for individuals to quit using without support, leading to a prolonged struggle.

Recenter assigns a new resident to a building called “The Dorm” which has a communal living environment with some newcomers and some old timers in large rooms. The old timers and the house leader keep an eye on those new to the program. These are not people involved with the management of Recenter.  They are peers of those newly arrived and their conversations are confidential.

3. The Importance of Support in Recovery

Support is essential for recovery, as it provides an opportunity for an individual to tell the truth about their life – a freedom they may not have experienced for a long time. Long-term support can help people feel accountable and encouraged to stay on track.

4. The Challenges of Early Recovery

Early recovery is one of the most challenging phases of overcoming substance abuse. Quitting drinking and using drugs can be physically painful and emotionally draining, leading to intense withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, depression, and cravings. However, with the right support, it is possible to overcome these challenges and continue on the path to recovery.

The first few days and weeks of recovery are often the most difficult, as individuals try to adjust to life without alcohol or drugs. This can be a time of great uncertainty and discomfort as well as relief, as individuals learn how to cope with stress and anxiety in new and healthy ways.

Long-term support can be particularly helpful during this phase of recovery. For example, attending support groups such as 12-step meetings or SMART Recovery can provide individuals with a sense of community and belonging, as well as access to others who have gone through similar experiences.  Recenter residents volunteer to be sponsors and are particularly helpful and attentive to the newcomers during this time.  Additional therapy and counseling can help individuals work through their underlying issues and develop coping strategies to manage cravings and triggers.

It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey.  Sobriety must be practiced and lived.  Setbacks are a natural part of the process. With the right support, 60% of substance abusers can overcome the challenges of early recovery and continue on the path to a healthy and fulfilling life.

5. The Benefits of Long-Term Support

Long-term support can provide a multitude of benefits for those struggling with substance abuse. Ongoing therapy and counseling can help individuals address the root causes of addiction and learn coping mechanisms to avoid relapse. Just knowing that Recenter’s program includes long-term support can also help individuals achieve long-term sobriety.

6. Types of Long-Term Support

Various types of long-term support are available to help individuals overcome substance abuse. Support groups like 12-Step Meetings provide peer support and guidance are held 42 times per week on the Recenter campus so all residents can attend at a convenient time.

Therapy with a Psychologist is recommended as it provides personalized support. Soon after a new residents arrives Recenter staff members, working with the resident, will develop a Life Map that makes sure all recovery counseling, medical service and prescriptions, employment, and education needs can be met for those that are ready to work their program. Plans for reuniting with family will follow. Continued sponsor involvement can help individuals stay on track and avoid relapse.

a. Recovery Counseling – We have Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Interns (LCDCI’s) on staff who provide our clients with recovery counseling services like a recovery plan, a relapse prevention plan and a plan to pursue during and post-recovery life goals.

b. Medical needs – Recenter will provide the resident a Homeless Letter certifying that they are enrolled and eligible for care and medication. Private and county-funded medical facilities are within walking distance or via Metro which runs in front of Recenter. Medical doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists are available as well prescriptions. Services and prescriptions are free or available at a drastically reduced rate.

c. Employment – If possible, Recenter encourages all residents to be employed, volunteering or looking for a job. Some jobs are available on campus. We also have a list of outside employment agencies who have paid work for our residents on a temporary, seasonal or permanent basis.

d. Education – Residents are urged to get their High School Equivalency if they did not complete High School. There is a HCC campus within walking distance for that as well as college level courses. The LCDCI’s are available to advise residents through their education planning.

Staying engaged in useful work as well as long-term support is crucial to maintaining sobriety. Individuals should strive to stay motivated, set goals, and continue their participation in all these endeavors.

7. The Importance of a Supportive Environment

Family and friends can play a significant role in supporting an individual’s recovery. Building a supportive environment can provide the necessary encouragement and accountability needed to maintain sobriety. Conversely, a non-supportive environment can make it challenging for individuals to overcome addiction.

8. Overcoming Common Obstacles in Long-Term Support

Negative self-talk, resistance to change, and setbacks are common obstacles individuals may face in recovery. Strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and developing positive self-talk can help individuals overcome these obstacles and maintain sobriety.

9. Celebrating Success in Recovery

Recognizing milestones and celebrating success in recovery is essential to staying committed and motivated. Individuals should acknowledge and celebrate their progress to maintain their focus and dedication to overcoming substance abuse.

10. Conclusion

Long-term support is crucial for individuals struggling with substance abuse to overcome addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. The various types of support available, including peer support groups, therapy, and living a sober lifestyle can provide individuals with the necessary resources to stay on track. By building a supportive environment and staying engaged in long-term support, individuals can overcome common obstacles and celebrate their success in recovery.


Steven Brinkman