What is Recovery?

What is Recovery?

Recovery from addiction is a journey not a destination. Addiction does not happen overnight, it takes time, therefore recovery also takes time. Addiction and alcoholism are defined as diseases. Addiction is the physical dependence on any mind or mood altering substance and the continued use regardless of consequences. Addiction is not a moral deficiency but rather a disease of the mind, body and spirit. Most people who become addicted cannot using drugs or drinking simply because they want to or “will” themselves to. Most people who suffer from addiction or alcoholism must seek outside help or an outside solution rather to help them get sober and then remain sober as they journey into recovery.

Sobriety is the cessation of drug use or drinking after an addiction has been formed. In order to remain sober addicts and alcoholics must find help from an outside source because they cannot find sobriety or gain sobriety on their own. Most of the time addicts and alcoholics who want to be in sobriety have tried many times to be sober on their own and have not been capable of it. This is why drug and alcohol treatment centers are available to anyone suffering with disease of alcoholism or addiction. Sobriety and the help to get sober is offered in the form of detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and support groups at these drug and alcohol treatment centers. Sobriety is not recovery though and in order to truly recover from the disease of alcoholism and addiction something more than just drug and alcohol treatment must be completed. This is where some kind of solution based therapy comes into play in order for the journey to recovery to begin.

Most people who want recovery begin by looking into 12 step programs because the term recovered is used in such self-help groups. Recovery is not only just the cessation of drug use and drinking but also the ability to live life effectively and usefully without the use of drugs and alcohol. This is why recovery is a lifestyle and not so much a destination that people reach once they get sober. Recovery is a way of living. More people than not find recovery in their 12 step fellowship such as AA or NA because it treats all three aspects of the disease of addiction. 12 step fellowships offer recovery because they give the addict or alcoholic not only the chance to stay sober but also steps to live a more effective and useful life. The 12 step programs of recovery offer a spiritual solution to a disease which includes a spiritual malady or maladjustment to life.

Recovery begins as soon as an addict or alcoholic’s behavior, ideals, ideas, thoughts, and actions change for the better. Recovery is not merely living life and battling against wanting to use drugs but finding the solution so they may never thinking of drugs or drinking again. Recovery allows this because it teaches a new way of life.

 

Finding purpose in my recovery

Finding purpose in my recovery

Finding purpose in my recovery

When I was using drugs, I didn’t think much about my life’s purpose. My purpose was getting and using drugs. That’s all I did, and that’s all I cared about. I didn’t think much further than the next high. I was a slave to those pills. They dictated everything I did. When I woke in the morning, my first thought was how I was going to get high that day. On rare occasions, I’d have enough to last me through a day or two and I’d get a reprieve from the constant hustling, lying, and manipulating to get more. The reprieve was short-lived, however, and the drugs never lasted.

Finding purpose in my recovery was not the first thing I was thinking about when I got sober either. “Purpose” was a lofty idea for a person who was just looking to stop thinking about drugs and alcohol every single second of the day. It was a good thing I went to treatment this time, because I would never had made it through the first twenty days of sobriety unless I was in a controlled environment. I felt so sick, beaten down, and dispirited, that I prayed for God to take me. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or even hold my head up in those first twenty days.

When I got out of treatment, I wasn’t particularly concerned with finding purpose in my recovery either. Without drugs and alcohol, I had no solution, no way to treat the internal emptiness. I was clean, but I was miserable. I embraced the program of AA, and began working steps in earnest. I began to find relief. I still wasn’t looking too far ahead, or questioning what my purpose in recovery was. I was just trying to do the next right thing.

Finding purpose in my recovery was not something I thought about until I had some sobriety and had worked twelve steps. Alcoholics Anonymous states that:

“Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”

I found my purpose in recovery almost by accident. I began helping other alcoholics and I asked myself how I could be helpful in all other aspects of my life. When I had to make a decision, I would ask myself which path would allow me to be the most helpful to others, and that’s what I chose.

When I took this attitude, things just started falling into place for me. I had always wanted to write, but I didn’t have any work experience in writing or anything related. I’d kind of given it up as a lost cause, or resigned it to the future when I could go back to school and major in something like journalism.  At a few months sober, I met a woman in the rooms who offered me the opportunity to write about recovery on a daily basis. I could carry the message while doing what I’ve always wanted to do-writing. This is how I found my purpose in recovery, but I know it is not that easy for everyone. What I can tell you is this: If you do the right thing in your daily life and live a life based on spiritual principles, you will be amazed at the doors that will open for you. My primary purpose remains the same as it always was-to help the alcoholic that still suffers, but by doing that, I’ve found many other things that give meaning and purpose to my life.