• Nicole Arzt

A Guide to Understanding Subjective vs. Objective Results in Recovery


How do you measure success in recovery? What are the best milestones for determining progress or lack thereof? If you ask ten different people, you will receive ten different answers.


That's because recovery is a personal and unique process. While there might be some sweeping generalizations, this journey is an individualized one. After all, nobody else's story can match your own.


It's essential to understand the differences between subjective vs. objective results. Knowing this information can help you recognize your progress and determine the next steps you need to take. Let's get into what you should know.


Defining Recovery Itself

Even medical experts often disagree on this topic. Does recovery mean total abstinence from all mood-altering substances? Or is the definition more fluid? Does taking medication, such as naltrexone or suboxone, disregard your recovery? Can harm reduction work?


There aren't perfect answers to these questions. Each person has different results, and these results can change over time.


Defining your recovery often comes down to asking yourself:

  • Am I still consistently trying to escape or numb my emotions?

  • Am I still experiencing persistently high cravings?

  • Am I relying on certain crutches to make me feel better?

  • Am I manipulating, lying, or stealing from loved ones?

Answering 'yes' to any one of those questions could indicate problems in your recovery. If that's the case, it's essential to step back and reevaluate your current situation.


Defining Success In Recovery

What does real success in recovery mean? Does it mean that you don't ever relapse? That you become an advocate for treatment and work to help others?


Or is it something else altogether? Does success mean getting the job that you've always wanted? Or does it mean getting married and starting a family?


As you can see, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for recovery. It's far more subjective than any cookie-cutter definition can ever provide. If you want to measure how you're succeeding, consider asking yourself:

  • How fulfilled do I feel on a regular basis?

  • How satisfied am I with my relationships?

  • What goals am I actively working towards achieving?

  • How is my self-esteem?

These questions may shed insight into your strengths and weaknesses. They can also expose areas in your recovery that you may want to improve.


Defining Your Goals Moving Forward

No matter how you define recovery, most people can agree on this: recovery is an active process. It isn't a set destination. You don't work to "get there," and then rest.


Instead, recovery is a state of mind. It's something you choose to work on each day. Some days will be easier than others, but all recovery requires effort, willingness, and courage. After all, it's hard to change the way you live your life. It's even harder to maintain that for the rest of your life!


With that in mind, nobody's two goals will look the same. Your values determine what you prioritize in life. These values will shape your future goals, and they will also set the path for how you plan to achieve those goals.


It doesn't matter what your goals are, but it does matter that you have them. Stagnation is a dangerous threat, and it can a significant relapse trigger. If you need help defining your goals, consider working with a therapist or life coach.


What Are Your Subjective Vs. Objective Results?

Is your recovery where you want it to be? If not, what do you want to improve? Do you know what you need to change to move in that direction?


At The Resurface Group, we believe every recovery process is as unique as people themselves. Your subjective vs. objective results are yours, and your treatment must reflect that.


We're here for you during every stage of this growth process. Contact us today to learn more about our dynamic approach!

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