Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Recovery is a Life-long Endeavor

Many people think a person in recovery needs to relapse to understand the numerous issues surrounding the addiction process. Those of us who have been in the field for a while realize that most folks relapse - not because it is a necessary step in the process, but more so because a person gets stuck in some phase of recovery and falls back on what is comfortable or what is known. Recovery is developmental and progressive in nature.

For example:

1. The person needs to gain insight into his/her relationship with a substance or behavior. Most try willpower to stop and when this fails after 6 weeks they get stuck.

2.After some time being abstinent real life problems come alive. There is no chance to self-medicate and the person gets stuck again because they do not have tools necessary to manage their day with its complications.

3. In the early recovery stage we work on issues such as shame and guilt - many hard to handle.

4.Later recovery is when we repair damages. Rejection from others when we expect amends causes either a clash or a sticking point.

5. Maintenance is forever. It is critical to live life, not let boredom set in and think we are 'all better'. Then we regress to our old ways and we are really stuck with trying to put the pieces back together again. Recovery is a living part of life that must be kept healthy, active, nurtured, and sprinkled with daily spirituality if it going to thrive!


Unknown said...

You're exactly right to state that recovery is a life long process. Learning to stay away from triggers and rethinking/restructuring life's daily interactions is necessary for anyone to be successful in their journey.

Dr. Alicen said...

Thank you! It begins with a willingness to let others help you help yourself. Education, giving value to support, and restructuring choices will point us in a very different direction.