Recovery is a process-- not an outcome-- and each individual’s recovery is different. For many people, the initial period after the substance use stops is focused on stabilization. As the chaos associated with addiction begins to fade, things improve dramatically. As recovery progresses, different issues-- such as dealing with the causes of addiction, reconciling past behavior, understanding motives for using-- move to the forefront. Later, developing strategies to prevent relapse, and keeping substance abuse at bay, becomes a larger part of the work.
While some people stop using opiates without taking any medication, the vast majority of people who are not taking a medication will relapse. Fortunately, there are excellent medications available to help patients in recovery, and for most people, medication is one of the key factors leading to a successful recovery.