Addiction recovery is a highly subjective topic, but for the most part, people take recovery to mean abstinence from drugs and alcohol. 

People In 12 step recovery talk a lot about recovery and what it looks like from that perspective, however, it is not the only perspective that matters. It’s important for people embarking on their recovery journey to accept that each person’s concept of their own recovery must be respected. 

Recovery Is An Individual Journey 

When it comes to addiction recovery, each person must find their own way. With that said, it’s also important to realize that living a life of recovery isn’t just about staying away from drugs and alcohol. Recovery is a lifestyle. 

Elements Of Recovery 

While your recovery is yours and yours alone, there are some common elements that people who have recovered from addiction consider to be important. Each of these elements can be tailored to your individual needs, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. Again, how you approach your recovery is your business, these are just some ideas to get you started. 


Support is one of the most important aspects of recovery. You can’t recover in isolation. In order to have a life that isn’t just about willing yourself to stay clean and sober, you need supportive, like-minded people in your corner. 

This is one of the reasons why 12 step programs are so popular. It’s a built-in community of people who are also clean and sober you can socialize with, get encouragement from and go to when things are tough. 

You may not want to participate in 12 step groups, and that’s okay. You don’t have to, but it does help to seek out people in your life who support what you are doing. 


Why is service so important to recovery, and what does it entail? There are many ways to be of service. When you are hanging out with your clean and sober friends, listening to a friend who is hurting or helping someone in need, you are being of service. Volunteering in your community is a wonderful way to be of service, as well. 

Being of service gives you a way to “get out of your own head” for a little while and boosts self-esteem. It increases gratitude and appreciation. All of these things increase your overall levels of satisfaction with life, which ultimately helps you stay clean and sober. 


Spirituality isn’t the same as religion. If you have a religious practice, great. If you don’t, that’s okay, you can practice spirituality in your everyday life. Often, people who are addicted report feeling empty, lost and alone. A spiritual practice is often what’s lacking when this is the case. There are many ways to develop a spiritual connection. Read books, meditate, get in touch with nature, practice yoga or Tai Chi and spend some time exploring different spiritual practices to get a feel for what resonates with you. Above all else, practice gratitude for what you have in life, it is one of the best, simplest ways to deepen your spiritual connection. Keep a gratitude journal to help you do this. 


In the world of twelve-step programs, it’s known as an inventory. You don’t have to do a formal inventory to practice reflection, however. Taking stock of your actions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors on a regular basis is valuable. It helps you recognize patterns and notice what is and isn’t working in your life. 


Taking good care of yourself is an extremely important aspect of recovery. People who relapse often neglect self-care. It’s important to treat yourself as you would any other important person in your life. This means getting enough rest, treating your body with respect and taking time to nurture yourself. Treat yourself right, you deserve it!