Rustling through papers that are scattered all over my writing area is sometimes like treasure hunting. Every so often, I’ll find an outline for a story or seminal lines for a poem that I had totally forgotten. But last night, although I didn’t find anything I had forgotten, I did find treasure in the form of a lot of notes about Addiction Psychology and the mechanics and processes it contains. But the treasure wasn’t in the notes, it was what wasn’t in the notes.
I have no doubt that it’s critical for everyone to really understand Addiction Psychology, that is, I know that in learning about the processes and thoughts involved in Addiction, healing can begin. However, I haven’t written much about Addiction Recovery Psychology. Really, there’s not a lot out there about the psychology of Addiction Recovery, at least not in those words.
Therefore, I’m going to start working more on Recovery, relating Recovery with Addiction. For starters, I offer the following working definition of Addiction Recovery Psychology:
Addiction Recovery Psychology = The mental states and processes involved in regaining what was lost to an addiction.
It’s a simple definition, but I think it offers insight into the layers that I still need to uncover and develop. For example, the definition implies that something was in fact lost to an addiction. And really, if something of value wasn’t lost to an addiction, then I question whether an addiction was even present. Now, it may not be possible to regain things in the exact way, but regaining some semblance of what was lost provides goals and objectives which are necessary for recovery.
Also implied within this definition, is that there are mental states and mental processes involved in recovery, just as there are in Addiction. Though at this point, I can’t say for certain of what those states and processes are comprised, I can say from experience that there is a certain mindset that needs developing such that Addiction’s processes can be disrupted. Of special note is that I did not mention anything about substances or behaviors pertaining to an addiction. To me, recovery is not about the substance or behavior, it’s about health. While curtaining substance/process use/abuse is part of an overall recovery plan, i don’t think it’s the way to measure recovery…
I have a lot of work ahead of me in developing my definition of Addiction Recovery Psychology, but I think I’m on to something useful that therapists can apply within their own work. If anyone would like to add or criticize this definition, please do so with respect….