Long-Term Recovery and How to Maintain It

“Anyone, from any background, can develop a compulsive relationship with alcohol. But with the right help and guidance, it is possible to recover from alcohol addiction and build a healthy, fulfilling future.”


The challenges in early recovery

In early recovery, there’s a meticulous focus to complete a medically supervised detox and integrate into a treatment facility. For example, at Addcounsel we tailor the needs of the client as an individual and offer twenty four hour support in one of our luxury London facilities. A client will then build days and weeks of abstinence from alcohol (or any other drug or behaviour which has become a problem). It’s perfectly natural for a person in early recovery to make remaining abstinent the focal point of their lives. Much consideration and careful planning is carried out regarding business meetings, conference calls, family engagements, private and secure support groups, all of which will be executed without the substance or behaviour they’re dependant on. It requires immense courage and willingness to remain committed to a recovery programme and to get through a medically supervised detox. Nonetheless, with the right support, abstinence from alcohol and a life in recovery can be achieved.  

Here are some of the challenges we have identified in early recovery:


There may still be some denial and self-delusion that a life of untreated alcoholism/addiction isn’t that bad. Alcohol addiction (indeed any addiction) thrives in self-denial. Denial stops a person seeking help or staying the course in recovery.


Cravings may still occur unexpectedly, catching the individual who may have been abstinent for a while off guard. It really depends on the person. Some people will have no cravings whatsoever after a detox, while others may still occasionally crave alcohol months down the line. The most important thing is to ignore the urge and refrain from drinking again. The cravings will pass.

Business engagements

Attending a business meeting for the first time without alcohol (or knowing that a drink isn’t available after a board meeting) may cause an individual to experience severe anxiety and stress.

Integrating with family

Engaging with family members without alcohol to anaesthetise uncomfortable emotions, especially if the family is dysfunctional and indifferent or even hostile towards the concept of abstinence and recovery. The challenges within a dysfunctional family system may prove to be the most challenging to address in early recovery.


Boredom can be problematic, particularly when it presents a marked contrast to the often chaotic lifestyle prior to treatment and early recovery. This too needs to be monitored, otherwise thoughts of drinking or using may become appealing again. It serves most individuals in early recovery to keep as active as possible and avoid isolating, unless advised otherwise by a health professional on medical grounds.

Returning home after treatment

Transitioning home from a treatment facility can be very stressful for some individuals. This is especially true for neurodivergent people (an autistic person or someone with ADHD, for example). This transition requires the utmost sensitivity whilst planning, ensuring that emotional support is available when needed.

Self-discovery and awareness

Coming to terms with the reality that recovery is very much a personal journey of self-discovery, requiring many adjustments, can also be really challenging. The thought of long-term recovery can often seem daunting, which is why it’s recommended to emotionally ground oneself in the day (to stay focused on the next twenty-four hours), whenever one finds oneself projecting too much into the future. The celebrated actor, Samuel L. Jackson, once said regarding early recovery: “I understood, through rehab, things about creating characters. I understood that creating whole people means knowing where we come from, how we can make a mistake and how we overcome things to make ourselves stronger.”

What does long-term recovery look like?

At Addcounsel, we believe in treating the underlying causes of addiction. Once this has been realised, and a recovery programme has been integrated, the path to long-term sobriety has already been forged and is already on its way.

Suffice to say, life is challenging and sustaining recovery won’t be easy, but it’s a great personal investment. Life opens up in recovery — established relationships can heal, and new friends are made. Guilt, shame, and stress are alleviated, while self-respect is restored.

Here are some of the indicators of long-term recovery:

  • Remaining abstinent from a substance and/or an addictive behaviour. For example, if alcohol was a destructive force, long-term recovery would look like abstinence from alcohol. Similarly, a compulsive gambler would quit gambling indefinitely
  • A desire to personally grow, develop and explore ways in which mental and emotional health can manifest. This is a clear indicator of a willingness to commit to a new way of life
  • Personal relationships improving is a good sign of long-term recovery. This may take time, and there may be setbacks. However, the individual in recovery learns to recognise that they have no control on how their loved ones think and behave. The person in long-term recovery focuses on their own behaviours, rather than trying to regulate the behaviour of family and friends. A desire to overcome codependency and untangle oneself from toxic and dysfunctional relationships will likely occur in long-term recovery. There is a progressive realisation that an individual can only change their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours (this is when immense internal freedom can be felt)
  • Professional relationships are less troublesome. There will always be challenges in business, however, working life may feel unexpectedly fulfilling once more
  • There may be a desire to look at other problematic behaviours, such as a cross addiction. This is highly desirable if long-term recovery and emotional wellbeing are the ultimate goals
  • Because individuals are extremely complex and recovery will manifest differently depending on a multitude of probabilities, it’s been very difficult for the medical and health professions to monitor in incremental detail the process of long-term recovery (what does long-term recovery look like at 10, 15, 25 years etc.). The nature of the most successful addiction/recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous, requires anonymity and privacy, and so although many are indeed in long-term recovery, such data isn’t available. We know that if physical health hasn’t been impaired, mental, and emotional health are easier to sustain.

In the National Library of Medicine: Pathways to Long-Term Recovery: A Preliminary Investigation, the authors write: “Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. While there is a large body of empirical data on the short-term effectiveness (1-2 years) of various treatment modalities, very little is known about the processes of recovery over time.”

How to maintain long-term recovery

Professional help and a recovery programme

When you check in to one of our discreet, luxury rehabilitation facilities, you’ll be embarking upon a personalised alcohol and/or drug addiction treatment programme carefully tailored to your individual needs. We offer private accommodation for the duration of your stay, with 24/7 access to a team of world-class experts headed by one of the UK’s leading psychiatrists. Your new recovery programme will compliment your health and lifestyle. As you move further down the tracks into long-term recovery, it’ll likely be beneficial to seek professional help and guidance to address other issues, which will reveal themselves as you become more self-aware such as accessing and addressing unresolved grief, healing from historic trauma, and identifying and subsequently healing from wounds caused by family dysfunction or abandonment.

Mutual aid groups (support groups)

Long-term recovery requires a strong support network as addictive thoughts and behaviours thrive in isolation. Many ultra-high-net-worth individuals will have concerns of security and anonymity, and so privately held support groups can be arranged. For decades, individuals in the public eye, in medical professions, and politics, have formed and attended private, discreet support groups.  

However, many ultra-high-net-worth individuals, often those with a less conspicuous public profile, will prefer to attend regular support groups as they find it grounding and unexpectedly liberating to make new acquaintances/friendships with individuals from a miscellany of circumstances and walks of life. For example, 12-step fellowships have assisted many individuals to sustain long-term recovery, especially after detoxing in a treatment facility. In the aforementioned article published by National Library of Medicine, the authors continued with their findings: “Present findings, indicating that the majority of individuals in long-term recovery continue to attend meetings and sustain their involvement with the 12-step program of recovery, suggest that the beneficial effects of 12-step groups on short-term abstinence extend to the long-term as well. From a recovery perspective, 12-step groups have the unique advantage of being consistently and widely available in the communities where members live.”

Creating goals and making plans

Setting goals and making plans is a good way to stay focused in long-term recovery. For many, UHNW individuals, this will be second nature. And so, it will simply be an adjustment to striking a new balance between over-projecting and trying to exact control and sober planning for beneficial events such as retreats, recovery workshops and relaxing vacations. There’ll also be much less inclination to be impulsive and make rash decisions and more focus on mindful execution of long-term projects.

Our team of experts are ready to talk to you. Please get in touch today to start your recovery.



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