Addictions recovery ingredients
Andrew Harvey, Addictions counsellor, explores what it takes to build sustainable solid recovery from addiction.
Recovery takes Knowledge, Insight, Commitment and Effort. It’s a process, not an event. That is, relapse, back sliding or returning to what has occurred can be part of the journey and recovery is ongoing. Lapse and / or relapse happens when someone is not actively applying Knowledge, Insight, Commitment and Effort to their recovery on an ongoing basis. Like driving a car or riding a bike, recovery for many gets easier, but even when practised for years, the person in recovery needs to be aware of the dangers and behave in a way that keeps them safe. Addiction, like driving recklessly can be fatal for the addict and others.
Someone may feel they have no choice around addiction but this is not true as they need to apply Knowledge, Insight, Commitment and Effort to connect with that choice and that ability to carry it out consistently.
The motivation to change can be a confusing aspect of addiction and recovery for many people, they can hold both awareness and a desire to stop at the same time as a compulsion to continue their addiction. This is further confirmation that addiction is present. Some people have lost the ability to see clearly and consistently the damage that their addiction is doing, and minimises or denies this reality, this again is addiction.
The lift of addiction stops at many floors, people don’t have to go to the bottom to get off, however if they have, recovery is still possible.
Addictions recovery is less about giving up something and more about gaining something that is a more meaningful, authentic and connected life. Addiction takes things and recovery gives them back, including self-esteem, love for and from self and others, meaning, passion, ability to deal with life’s challenges, healing and hope.
The Knowledge and Insight mentioned throughout this article is best acquired and understood from and with others. These others might be a support group or counsellor. In terms of Commitment and Effort, this often comes with hope, and a shift in belief, the belief that one can overcome addiction, this again can be found in connection with others. In many ways the journey from addiction to recovery is the journey from isolation to connection.
If you would like more information on recovering from addiction please do make contact.