Everyone in addiction is different and goes through their own personal process of recovery. That is the beauty of us as individuals. Everyone has their own personal battles to overcome. Some may need medication to keep from using drugs. Being on a mood stabilizer can have its benefits in the short-term; however, in the long run one must continually face reality if they want to be in full recovery.
Does an addict want to swap one drug for another when in reality the real work is what’s inside one’s own mind? This is the problem with methadone. I’ve heard time and again that an addict wishes to come off heroin so they get on methadone only to find that now they are addicted to methadone and coming off methadone seems much more difficult than coming off heroin ever was. Do we go through the hard part of withdrawal to get to recovery? I think oftentimes it is the only real successful way. Of course, drug companies would have you think otherwise and we won’t be discussion suboxone in this post.
If I have a chronic, progressive, incurable disease is there any hope for me in letting go of the “addict” label. There have been cures for other disease such as polio, tuberculosis, smallpox, and meningitis. Why is addiction a disease for life? I don’t call myself a recovering smoker. I say I’m an ex-smoker. How do you recover? Yes, recover forever? Can this recovery be fixed, completed? This is something to figure out.
To recovery we need to change our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. Everything about our entire world and the way we once saw it has to shift. Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude seems to be one of the ways that those who have lived an addictive lifestyle use to recover. Engaging in regular exercise is also one way to support recovery efforts with group exercise working extremely well. The idea is that having the communal support shifts your thinking and cognitions around your self-worth and value as a human being. Changing your diet, lowering the sugar, lessening the caffeine, including green veggie and healthy fats are also additional ways to support a recovery-lifestyle. All these things support a stable mood, healthy body and sound mind, not to mention the brain benefits of not feeding it poison over and over again.
Talking to others, creating trusting, reliable relationships and surrounding yourself with people who have your best interest at heart are all healthy signs of a positive recovery. If you identify patterns in your life that don’t work, then begin to change those patterns. It is not a novel concept that we are in control of our own destiny. For those who say they are an addict, they do not always believe this because they see themselves as a victim. You have the power to change your story, but only you can do it.
If you think changing your destiny is too difficult, think about how you formed the notion that you can’t do something. Is that an old thinking pattern that is no longer serving you? If so, lose it. Most of our negative patterns began in childhood as a way of correcting or dealing with things that were uncomfortable, but 20 years later we are utilizing those same defense mechanisms. We cannot think that the way we were 20 years ago is who we should be today. We were meant to grow, learn and stretch beyond our wildest possibilities. We cannot think that we will ever get different results if we continue doing the same thing we’ve always done. That simply is not how life works. Change is the only answer to addiction.
Your thoughts dictate your actions so it’s important to keep your mind clear but also full of positive thoughts. If you think you cannot do something, you won’t. Similarly, if you think you can do something, most likely you will. You must learn to believe in yourself and trust your own personal reality more than ever before.
Recovery usually means trying something new. Doing something different. Stepping outside of your comfort zone. I can say for myself that all of the above worked for me. Along with going to 12-step meetings. I participated in my own therapy; I went to week-long retreats and weekend workshops. I decided to have fun. I took risks. I took control of my own destiny because not doing so meant I was on a road of self-destruction where the only ending was probably death.
As far as whether to use the term “in recovery” or “recovered,” in the long run it doesn’t matter. You will find what works for you, and that’s exactly what you should do. Don’t prescribe to things that do not work, but become keenly aware of the present and your place in it. What’s most important is that you no longer allow drugs and alcohol to control your life. You control your life by the decisions you make each day. You can look at your life and think you can’t do anything about it, or you can try something new. I use all of the above terms to describe my recovery depending on my situation, not everyone needs to know. Remember, it’s your own journey, not theirs.
So what do you think? Recovery? Recovered? Please share your comments below.