September is Recovery Month

September 22, 2014 —
At The Retreat,we believe that recovery is awesome! In the midst of active addiction, it is difficult to believe that recovery can be awesome. We know that remaining abstinent and working a program of recovery offers a life worth living.

So, how does this recovery thing work? Those who suffer from addiction want,and have become, used to instant gratification – recovery now! Addiction doesn’t happen overnight, so it is important to know that recovery doesn’t happen overnight either. Recovery from addiction is a life-long process, not a one-time event.

Addiction is a brain disease, not a moral deficiency. To date, there is no cure for addiction, only remission. Recovery is how addiction is kept in remission. Having a solid plan is the best way to avoid relapse back into active addiction. The first crucial step in recovery is abstinence. Often, people need a residential stay to put some time and space between them and their substance of choice. Often this is a time to diagnose and treat other psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety that either have come along with, or came before addiction took hold. Next, is to create, and follow, a thorough recovery plan. A good recovery plan identifies and addresses triggers, warning signs of relapse, recovery support, alternatives to addictive behavior, and recovery-oriented daily structure.

Abstinence from all mood-altering substances and recovery support are the most important aspects of a recovery plan. Abstinence from all mood-altering substances is required. Substitution with other substances is not “recovery.” Recovery support is also mandatory for success. 12-Step recovery is the most recognized of the self-help recovery programs, and is The Retreat’s preferred recovery support choice. There are other self-help recovery support options as well. Having a psychiatrist or therapist who understands addiction and recovery is also recommended. It is imperative to attend and participate in a program of recovery to create a network of recovering support. The other important pieces of a thorough recovery plan –learning about triggers and warning signs of relapse, and how to change behaviors and create structure – come about by attending meetings and therapy sessions.

It all seems overwhelming at first. It is helpful to focus on doing what needs to be done each day – one day at a time. Thinking in terms of always, never, and forever thwart efforts and make recovery seem impossible. Attaining many “one days” is the process of recovery. The process of recovery requires vigilance and involves many ups and downs along the way. At The Retreat, we believe recovery is a journey worth taking. It is a journey that leads to a life worth living.