Recovery is possible without formal treatment, here’s how…

I’ve been reading a lot these days about a phenomena known as “spontaneous remission” from substance use disorders.  Spontaneous remission applies to people who simply quit cold turkey and didn’t seek any form of treatment for their substance use disorder.  It’s as if they simply woke up one day and just stopped using.  Spontaneous remission is an extension of another topic that has been emerging in the literature more and more: Natural Recovery.  It appears that, not only do people spontaneously stop using drugs and alcohol, but well over 75% (check out for a complete list of stats) of people in recovery have not sought formal treatment OR support groups such as AA.

What do spontaneous remission and natural recovery indicate? To me, they imply that people can find the strength inside of themselves to find health. However, natural recovery isn’t neutral; that is, people who are in recovery without formal treatment do share some characteristics: 1) They believe they have the internal resources to attain health (self-efficacy); They avoid high-risk situation; and interestingly, 3) They accepted help from God (or a “higher power” without any social group support).  These characteristics indicate that, not only do people have to come to a place of valuing their own life, but they ALSO have to recognize that they are a part of something far bigger.

We all have to learn that lesson, really. In my opinion, life isn’t a matter of seeking only whatever it is that we want. We also have to see that we are good and that others are good and that, YES, there is a “God” that provides spiritual energy to this Earth.  Don’t believe me? Look around you.  Take an evening walk; look at the sky, watch a robin forage for worms.  If you think that YOU are all there is, then ask yourself: What force drives all the light and provides the robin food?  I know I have NOTHING to do with any of the beauty that surrounds me.  I didn’t create it, but I do have the privilege of experiencing it almost daily.

See, we as individuals ARE important, but we are only a piece of a far bigger puzzle that NO ONE can fully explain.  Neither religious zealots with all their closed systems of thinking nor the most accomplished scientific minds can provide a complete picture of this Earth.  But we ALL get to live here and respecting ourselves and this place while humbling ourselves to its vastness goes a long way towards becoming healthy.  Read the evidence for yourself; people who both believe in themselves AND humble themselves can accomplish ANYTHING. Even recovery from substance use disorders.


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