Addiction is a matter of unconscious emotional behavior, coupled with physiological changes, that results from an unhealthy environment and genetic predisposition. Recovery, therefore, is a developing environment in which an addict can learn to become healthy that involves conscious mental activity. However, we live in a world that reduces recovery to a matter of “not using” and that is why we have such high relapse rates.
I propose and challenge everyone to understand that recovery requires a social change. That is, if you want an addict to change, and you are involved with the addict, take a look at yourself and find ways that YOU can become healthier. In doing so, you will create a healthier environment in which the addict can also become healthier. But, if you stay the same, yet require the addict to change, you are only persisting an unhealthy environment.
Recovery develops in time. It is a process that has less to do with substances and more to do with love and respect. I caution, however, that love does not mean turning a blind eye to an addict’s behavior. Addicts, when caught within the addictive cycle, are manipulative. If you give an addict an inch, he or she will take a mile. That being said, love and respect begin with ourselves; if we model behavior that suggests love and respect of self, then it can be learned. If we do not, then how can someone know what love and respect looks like?
You might be thinking, “I don’t need to change.” But, unless you’re perfect, you can improve in some way or another. Rather than trying to get an addict to change, it would be in your best interest to improve your own life. We have to create a healthy environment that begins with our own lives. We cannot stay unhealthy yet require someone else to become healthy….
Recovery takes time, but if an unhealthy circumstance is allowed to persist, recovery from Addiction is probably not possible.