Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is never a fast or easy process, but a recovery contract can help. It can and has been done, time and again, and it always starts with the individual’s decision to get and stay sober. The individual can then reach out for the professional help they need in order to successfully address and resolve the many causes and effects of their addiction, allowing them a clean slate to start over with in their life.
Once an individual has moved forward through a rehabilitation treatment program, they may experience a variety of mixed emotions. On the one hand, they can feel relieved that they have successfully overcome their problems with addiction, and on the other hand they can feel nervous about their return to normal life environments and routines. What they need is an impetus to stay on the road to recovery–no matter what.
Recovery Contracts Outline Expectations
A recovery contract essentially outlines what is expected of a recovering addict. It states exactly what they need to do in order to successfully maintain their recovery and what consequences they will experience should they fail to maintain their recovery. It is often written between the recovering addict and his family members, who are essentially agreeing to take him in and provide for him as long as he agrees to remain clean, sober and contributive.
While recovery contracts can vary from family to family, there are some basic stipulations that it should always outline, including the overall goals and accomplishments of the recovering addict, how they are going to achieve their goals and accomplishments, when they are going to achieve their goals and accomplishments and the consequences of failing to achieve their goals and accomplishments.
Some things to keep in mind when creating a recovery contract include putting the contract in writing. Spoken words and promises can be easily forgotten or changed, whereas written agreements hold far more weight. The contract should also be a mutual agreement and creation–not something that is forced on a recovering addict by his family members. He may still need support and encouragement in order to successfully transition back into his life, but it is unlikely that he will be receptive to empirical demands. It is also important to ensure that goals and accomplishments are specific and exact, so that the individual does not find easy ways out of harder tasks. That said, they shouldn’t be overly complex either, as this can make the entire process overwhelming and unappealing. Furthermore, one should ensure that outlined consequences include both rewards and penalties. There is no doubt that a recovering addict who falls off the path to recovery should be penalized with the agreed upon consequences, but likewise the recovering addict who successfully remains on target to reach his goals should be rewarded for doing so. Finally, the recovery contract should absolutely insist on full sobriety.
The Success of Recovery Contracts
Any individual who is seeking to work through something difficult in their life will always benefit greatly from having strict guidelines to follow. In the case of drug addiction, the recovering addict is well aware of the fact that they can make and have made mistakes in their decisions and actions, and therefore giving them a structure for their recovery can help to ensure that they stay on the path for a healthier, happier future. That said, recovery contracts are likely only to assist an individual in maintaining their sobriety if they themselves are dedicated to this goal, and willing to enter the contract. After all, the individual’s entire recovery so far has been due to his own decisions and actions, and his future is his alone to shape.
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