Recovery isn’t about flipping a switch or waving a magic wand. There are certain elements that must either be in place or be developed before recovery can happen. As much as we want addicts to just simply stop using whatever substance to which they’re addicted, recovery just doesn’t work like that.
Therefore, someone is recovery requires four (4) things:
- A support system that’s educated on the relationship between anxiety and compulsion and how each both contributes to and maintains the addictive cycle. This education should include the pharmacology of the respective substance (or substances) of abuse, as someone addicted to cocaine requires different treatment tools than someone addicted to opiates.
- Recognition of the spiritual needs of the person in recovery. This does not mean pushing one religion or another onto someone; really, all it means is that each person should find a way to engage with something bigger than him or her self. All people have different needs and throwing a higher power at an atheist may be iatrogenic.
- An understanding of the underlying causes of the Addiction. The underlying cause may be a co-occurring issue such as Depression or General Anxiety Disorder or it can simply be a desire to use the substance. Either way though, finding the root cause is critical to developing and maintaining recovery.
- Recognition that recovery begins again, every day. The truth is that recovery begins again every day. Addiction isn’t cured; it’s managed and it’s done so over time. There is no quick fix; plus, relapse may be a part of recovery. Daily focus (or refocus) is a basic component to successful recovery and must be renewed every day.
If we can build these four elements, then someone can recovery from an addiction. If, however, we keep hoping that a genie will spring forth from a magic lamp and grant us some wishes, then recovery probably isn’t going to happen…