Engagement and Disengagement in Recovery

engagement and disengagement in recovery

You wouldn’t sign up for a gym membership and expect to become more physically fit just because you carry a membership card. You won’t build muscles or lose weight even if you do visit the gym occasionally but still do not work out on any of the machines or participate in any of the exercise classes. The same is true for your addiction treatment. Seeking help is a great first step but engagement and disengagement in recovery can mean the difference in your success.

A Process of Change

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sees recovery as a process of change for individuals who want to improve their health and wellness. People in recovery are also focused on reaching their full potential and leading self-directed lives. Engaging in treatment and recovery is essential to be able to do that.

Simply attending therapy or group sessions will not provide you with the support you need in the four major dimensions affecting recovery: health, home, purpose, and community. Your recovery process is, of course, personal to your particular needs and will happen on a pathway designed just for you. The key, though, is engagement in the support groups and in the rehab sessions that are critical to your path to recovery.

Active Participation

You are much more likely to complete your addiction treatment successfully and to continue on to a sober recovery when you actively participate in the treatment and recovery process. As an engaged participant, you will gain new perspectives about your addiction, including identifying any negative behavior patterns that may have enabled your addiction.

Engagement and disengagement can significantly affect whether your recovery is successful. In fact, it’s been found that early disengagement from addiction treatment can lead to higher rates of a return to drug use, particularly opioids, as well as mortality. However, when you are actively involved in your healthcare and self-management decisions, you are more likely to adhere to your treatment plan.

Addressing Other Needs

Addiction treatment addresses other areas with you as you work through the underlying causes that may have led to your addiction. Treatment and rehab will also address problems that may be associated with your drug or alcohol abuse, including social, vocational, legal, medical, or psychological problems. Active engagement on your part is critical to be able to understand and get help with these other areas that are impacted by your addiction.

Understanding and addressing your motivation to change can be a significant part of the behavioral therapy that can help you in drug abuse treatment. You might participate in individual, family, or group counseling, depending on your situation. The crucial word there, though, is participate.

You will not see the rewards, including developing the skills you need to resist drug or alcohol use and developing better interpersonal relationships, without being actively engaged in your treatment plan. You will also need to participate in group therapy and peer support programs after addiction treatment to help you maintain your sobriety.

It Takes Time

Your disengagement could be a result of frustration about the amount of time your addiction treatment is taking out of your life. Remember, though, that you didn’t become addicted to drugs or alcohol overnight. Likewise, your addiction treatment will not happen instantly. You’ll need to participate in treatment sessions, providing input and interacting with others in group sessions, and be involved in the treatment plan that has been designed to lead to your success in recovery.

Recovery is a long-term process and may even require multiple treatment plans adjusted to your changing needs. If you disengage during treatment, your treatment professional will work with you to find ways that can help you become re-engaged. Your recovery depends on it!


If you have become disengaged from your addiction treatment, the professional team at BRC Recovery can help. We specialize in helping chronic relapsers, who may not have been completely engaged in their recovery. We work with you to address the underlying causes of your addiction and will help you with the addiction treatment you need to recreate and reclaim your life. Contact the professionals at BRC Recovery when you are ready for real change for your life. We offer proven treatment options for your addiction.

At BRC Recovery, we understand the stresses you are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We offer a safe, clean environment so you can continue receiving the highest quality of care. To learn more about our services and to get the help you need, please call BRC Recovery at 1-866-291-2676 to speak to our team.