Drug recovery is so much more than just stopping using drugs or alcohol. There are many “dry out” programs that will be able to detoxify you from substances, but recovery only comes about if you take the next steps after detoxification. There is an old joke in the 12 step fellowship that goes “if you’re a drunken horse thief and stop drinking you’re still a horse thief”. This alludes to the observation that unless you change the behaviour associated with your drug use then nothing much has really changed.
Abstinence versus drug recovery
This is why addictions counsellors differentiate between “abstinence” and drug recovery. Abstinence means that the person does not take drugs or drink alcohol. It makes no further claims as to how the person behaves or feels about themselves. See this article for more info on the difference between recovery and abstinence. A person who is merely abstinent probably has not worked on their issues and past traumas. They probably haven’t looked at how they cope with stress, or understood their relationship to a spiritual higher power. In fact they’re missing out on all the good stuff that drug recovery brings. The road to recovery from active addiction can be a long one
The benefits of recovery
People who have found lasting drug recovery will testify to the tremendous benefits that being sober brings. They will probably be smiling and completely comfortable in describing their lives – a far cry from the shattered and miserable self that they presented when first arriving at an addiction treatment centre. Drug recovery brings about a new sense of being completely free and instills happiness in life. People in recovery will no longer suffer under the oppressive yoke of addiction or be forced to be emotional slaves to misery. When people find drug recovery they find peace with their past lives. They write down a searching and fearless moral inventory and discuss their behaviour with their sponsor.
Eventually the sense of shame around their past diminishes and instead of regretting their past they find acceptance of it and see it as a gift that brought them to recovery. People in drug recovery start finding that they value themselves more. Instead of feeling useless and unwanted they discover that they are liked and valuable members of society. This sense of belonging brings a great sense of relief and confidence that enables people in recovery to live without the burden of shame.
As their spiritual life grows the people in drug recovery start becoming less selfish and start looking out more for their fellows. Instead of constantly looking out for “number one” addicts in recovery will selflessly share their strength, hope, and experience. Instead of approaching life to see what they can get out, they will see how they can contribute. As they grow stronger addicts in drug recovery will realize that it doesn’t matter how bad their problem got.
All that matters is that they found recovery and can now use their experience to help others in similar situations find recovery. This brings a great sense of fulfillment to them as they life others out of the same pit of despair they once lived in. Because of these many benefits of drug recovery the people working a 12 step program discover that their whole world view changes. Pessimism is replaced with optimism, cynicism is replaced with hope, and negativity is flushed out by reviving positive thoughts.
If you think that drug recovery is something that you would like to enjoy then please contact an addictions specialist at We Do Recover for advice on how to find your way to recovery.
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