What to Expect In Your Lifelong Journey of Sobriety

Apr 18, 2023

Contrary to what you might think, your recovery from substance abuse doesn’t end when you exit rehab. Substance use disorder (SUD) is a chronic condition like asthma or diabetes. You wouldn’t stop taking your insulin shots because your glucose levels are temporarily under control, would you?

The same goes for everything you learn in treatment. Maintaining sobriety depends on your consistent application of those tools that you have painstakingly acquired through group therapy, individual counseling, medication assistance, and other healing activities. As a Christian-based rehabilitation center, we also want to include a deep and abiding faith in God and Jesus Christ on that list.

Preston Dixon, COO at Renaissance Ranch, explained it this way: “A person once told me he didn’t want to have to rely on lifelong recovery support. He felt that ongoing medication therapy or counseling was ‘just a crutch’ and didn’t represent ‘real’ recovery. My answer to him was, ‘if you shattered your leg, you might need a crutch or a cane for the rest of your life. What’s the difference?'”

“Addiction is a disease that not only shatters your body, it also crushes your spirit,” Dixon continued. “It takes a long time to heal and put yourself back together, and even then, you will always be prone to relapse. Ongoing recovery support is not a weakness, it’s a necessity.”

What does lifelong support look like? While it can include any number of factors, depending on your situation, we wanted to share with you some of the more universal resources you might want to lean on in your sobriety journey:

What to Expect In Your Lifelong Journey of Sobriety


Medication Assistance

People often think of methadone clinics when they hear about medication-assisted treatment. And they’re not wrong. However, several additional medications also have proven helpful in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD). Patients have been prescribed these medications to assist in detoxification and recovery and may use them for short or extended periods, sometimes even for the remainder of their lives.

Taking these medicines does not mean you are substituting one drug for another. Used alongside psychotherapy, they help you maintain sobriety by rebalancing chemicals in the brain, reducing the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms, blocking the euphoric effects of substances, and making drinking and using physically uncomfortable.

Common medications for AUD include acamprosate, disulfiram, topiramate, and naltrexone. Naltrexone is also used for OUD, along with buprenorphine and, of course, methadone. Like any medication, all of these have some side effects and are not recommended for everyone.

12-Step Groups

You can usually find regular 12-Step meetings sponsored by Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or any number of community or faith-based organizations right where you live. These local groups serve three primary purposes:

  1. To link you with peers who understand your situation and can help you sustain recovery.
  2. To give you a refresher on critical lessons you learned from each of the 12 Steps.
  3. To provide support and mentorship to others in earlier stages of recovery.

Mentorship represents the capstone of the 12-Step program. The Ranch patterns its 12-Step process after the Addiction Recovery Program used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our 12th Step states: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we try to carry this message to alcoholics [and other substance abusers] and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Individual Therapy

Doubtless, you received a substantial amount of individual therapy while in treatment. Counseling and therapy can and should continue well after you graduate from an outpatient or residential addiction recovery center. You will face new obstacles while transitioning back into your family, workplace, and social environments. Having a professional sounding board is essential to deal with these daily challenges.

A licensed therapist can continue working with you using the psychological remedies you had in treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

Post-Treatment Alumni

We can’t overstate the benefits of an alumni group. You probably made several significant connections while in rehab, and naturally, you want to continue cultivating those relationships. Alumni associations offer those in recovery a safe place to talk about issues, strengthen friendships, and hold each other accountable.

At Renaissance, we put a tremendous emphasis on maintaining these important relationships through our Band of Brothers program. The group meets regularly, sponsors workshops and guided sessions on essential recovery skills, and engages in fun extracurricular activities like hiking, golfing, and mountain biking. Participating in these activities is beneficial in building rapport and showcasing the advantages of living a sober lifestyle.

Your Faith Family

If you underwent treatment in a faith-based drug rehab, you understand how critical your spiritual awakening was to your recovery. Like a flower, that fledgling faith needs constant care and nurturing.

By staying involved with your faith community, you can build your belief in God and testimony of the healing power of Jesus Christ. Fortifying your faith will strengthen your capacity to handle setbacks when they come and provide you with a second family of people who support and love you. A religious congregation also offers excellent opportunities to get out into the community and give back through service.

As you can see, recovery is a lifelong process, and maintaining sobriety takes work. But as one popular religious leader once stated, “The Lord loves effort!” We believe that with God in your corner, recovery is not only possible, but it’s also inevitable.

If you want to learn more about Renaissance Ranch’s faith-based recovery programs in Utah and elsewhere, please get in touch with us at 855-736-7262.