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Life After Substance Use Disorder

The Road of Recovery for Life After Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder affects millions of Americans each day and is not something to be ignored. It is essential if you struggle to get help and find the right treatment option. But once you have gone through that process, what does life look like after substance use? And how can you combat the thoughts and long-lasting effects that come because of substance use?  

Substance abuse affects those around you just as much as it can affect your health.  According to the National Institute of Health, children of addicts are roughly 50% to 75% more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol compared to the public. Setting your children up for success begins with how you hold and present yourself to them. Begin building their success by finding yours.    

Substance Use Disorder Classified by the DSM-5

Substance use disorder is classified under a set of criteria that is outlined in the diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders (DSM-5). Individuals exhibiting a certain number of these criteria within 12 months may be diagnosed with SUD. The criteria include; 

  • Impaired Control  
  • Social Impairment 
  • Risky Use 
  • Tolerance 
  • Withdrawal 
  • Neglect of other Activities  

Life After Substance Use

Life after substance use can feel overwhelming and incredibly daunting. Embracing sobriety opens the world up to new possibilities and hope. When taking the steps to recovery, it is vital not to overlook the challenges faced along the journey and to be proud of yourself for how far you have come. Reidentifying oneself is a crucial cornerstone for maintaining the changes that have been set in place in your life. To cultivate a new identity and sense of self, you need to have someone by your side, which is a necessity when it comes to taking the following steps away from substance use disorder. Someone to communicate with and express honestly how you are doing. An encourager to help provide advice and support when it is needed the most. Therapy and treatment are other critical aspects of developing a healthy future free from substance use.  

Managing Relapse and Maintaining Sobriety

The battle against relapsing and continuing the path of sobriety can be a long and challenging road. You can continue in the right direction by remaining self-aware and desiring change. By going to a support group and seeking mentorship, you can have people in your corner, so you don’t feel alone or isolated. Creating a healthy routine with a good diet, regular workout routine, and adequate sleep allows the body to function at a peak performance level and helps maintain a strong mind and sense of worth. It is essential to find what triggers you and how you can avoid those things in your life. If a particular person or place makes it far more likely that you will revert to substance use, those may be things that need to be excluded from your life.  

Celebrate Milestones

It is essential to celebrate your accomplishments and celebrate in a way with the people around you who helped you along the way. By setting attainable goals and milestones, you can be proud when you reach them. One month, six months and one year are significant milestones to arrange for your first year, as they express gradual growth and a day-to-day commitment. Small milestones like staying sober during a particular event or reaching out during a struggle are vital and should be celebrated, not ignored. Celebrating milestones, big and small, will encourage you to continue the path and will give you something to look forward to.  


Life after substance abuse does not need to be a challenge but a celebration. We at NorthStar Regional want to celebrate with you. We have seen how the impacts of substance use have affected both the user and those around them for worse and strive to break that reality. Through managing and preparing for relapses, we can help you or a loved one maintain sobriety and begin to be made new.