As an older adult who has realized that drug or alcohol use has become a problem, recovery is still possible, but it’s different. The challenges you’ll face in recovery are going to be much different than someone who is young and struggling with an addiction. The first thing to realize is that the only one who can get in the way of your recovery is you. The biggest struggle anyone with an addiction must deal with is his or her own mind. You have a better chance of staying sober compared to relapsing to other chronic illnesses.

Drug Relapse Rates

If this isn’t your first time getting help, don’t be discouraged. It’s common for people to go into treatment with a pessimistic point of view if he or she has been to treatment before. Remember that no matter how many times you’ve been to treatment, this can be the time when something clicks and you are able to maintain your sobriety as long as you stay teachable. There are many men and women who have managed to finally stay sober after multiple treatment stays. Perhaps this program will offer something that connects with you that will keep you going strong for the rest of your life.

You have incredible chances of staying sober, but you’re the one who controls your destiny. According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) relapse rates for addiction are roughly between 40 to 60 percent [1]. This may seem high, but it’s actually less than other chronic illnesses. Relapse rates for hypertension are between 50 percent and 70 percent, and the numbers are the same for asthma [1]. When you compare addiction to a disease like cancer, you are must less likely to suffer relapse. While all it takes for you is changes of thoughts and behaviors, some people with cancer have had it come back multiple times, and it’s not for a lack of trying to stay well.

Staying Teachable

Your own mind is the biggest challenge you’re going to have to face in treatment, whether this is your first treatment episode or fifth. The issue many older adults struggle with is being stuck in his or her own ways. The ego is your worst enemy. This can lead you to thinking that you don’t need suggestions from addiction professionals while in treatment. Your idea of knowing what’s best for you can make you believe that you can stay sober on your own without doing anything that’s suggested. The most important thing you need to remember is that your way of thinking and actions for all this time is what landed you in this situation, so it’s time to look to new ways to start over.

You Have the Opportunity to Help Others

As an older adult getting sober, you are able to be of service to younger people. You can look back to when you were that age and remember your own mindset. The mind may have said, “I’ll never get that bad,” or “I haven’t lost all those things yet.” You can share with the younger people in treatment about your experiences and where they have led you. Your story and experiences may be enough to get through to some young people where they begin to understand the importance of fixing their issues with addiction sooner rather than later.