What the non-addict needs to know about recovery
Many people don’t truly understand addiction. Unless they have had some compelling reason to learn about it, like a friend or family member that is addicted, most don’t give it a second thought. Even those with addicted love ones may not know very much about the disease.
What the non-addict needs to know about recovery: Rehab is not a cure
Rehab is by no means a cure, and it should not be treated as such. An addict cannot attend a thirty day treatment program and then expect to be back to “normal” when they get out. Addiction is a chronic, progressive, and relapsing disease. And while rehab is certainly a good start to recovery, it takes continuous action on the part of the addict to achieve sobriety in the long term. For most people, it is what they do after treatment that makes or breaks recovery. Quitting drinking and drugging is just the first step.
What the non-addict needs to know about recovery: The substance doesn’t matter
When addicts and alcoholics first come into treatment, they tend to identify themselves by their “drug of choice.” Some used heroin, some drank, and some took pills. What non-addicts and even some addicts don’t understand is that the substance doesn’t matter. A true addict who used cocaine cannot one day be a social drinker, even if “alcohol was never their problem.” For most people, true recovery means staying away from ALL mood and mind altering substances, not just whatever substance landed them in rehab. Thinking of alcohol or prescription narcotics or marijuana as different from other drugs can be very dangerous.
What the non-addict needs to know about recovery: Time takes time
Once a person quits using drugs or drinking, there are some people that will expect his or her life to come together, just like that. What the non-addict needs to know about recovery is that the drugs and alcohol WERE NOT THE PROBLEM. Rather, drugs and alcohol were the solution to the problem. And the problem was internal. It is the inability to cope with day to day life. It is trying to find peace or happiness by getting high. When you take alcohol and drugs away from a true drug addict or alcoholic, their lives get worse, not better. Until they have another solution, there life will likely be chaotic. It takes time. Many alcoholics and addicts make mistakes in early sobriety. They are learning how to live in a new way, learning how to cope with emotions they have numbed for years, and trying to fix all the wreckage that was caused when they were using drugs and/or drinking. They must learn how to balance their lives again, learn how to connect with others again, and learn how to enjoy life without drugs and alcohol. Recovery is not a destination, it is a journey, and the early days are usually the most chaotic. The good news is, if an addict and alcohol works a program consistently, things will get better.