Recovery is a process NOT a goal

I don’t think many people would argue with me when I say that Addiction impacts a person across all facets of his life. Yet, when it comes to treatment, people have a tendency to associate recovery with the object of Addiction. That is, if someone is addicted to heroin (for example), his wife might say something like, “if he’d only stop using that crap, then he’d be ok.” But the reality is that, more often than not, the object of an addiction is a symptom of whatever is causing the real suffering that led to the addiction is the first place.

Because Addiction Treatment is often regarded in terms of one variable, recovery is often viewed in terms of using versus not using. But this single variable thought process actually interferes with an overall recovery program. For example, if someone uses heroin and he detoxes and refrains from using heroin for a week, but then relapses, he then often views himself as a failure. This success/fail approach to recovery is a fallacy that presents a heavy burden to a person’s overall program.

To me, it’s better to create a culture within which recovery is viewed as a process rather than a goal. See, if a person recovering from heroin use is living each day from a perspective of improving his overall health profile, but does use heroin, he is in a far better position to regain his sense of health than a similar person who only approaches his recovery from the “using heroin versus not using heroin” perspective.

To illustrate, if a person seeks treatment for heroin use and, along with his treatment provider, develops a plan that addresses his physical health, economic health, spiritual health, and psychological health, and then executes the plan every day, then his resources will grow and his life should reflect the positive outcomes that the plan yields. Yes, the heroin use should be addresses as part of the program, but it should not be the primary focus. Overall health should be the focus; the heroin use should diminish as health increases.

Recovery, then, should be considered a long-term process that leads to a healthier life. Since each day is another opportunity to grow in health, and since no one is perfect, maybe we should all commit to our own recovery program from which we can find an ever healthier version of our today-self….maybe?


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