Conditions for recovery must be developed

Saying that someone who abuses drugs and/or alcohol has to be ready to quit is a lot like saying that a rose has to be ready to grow.  And while that statement might appear true on the surface, I don’t see how a rose could ever grow without having been planted within the proper soil, having gotten plenty of water, and having gotten plenty of sunlight.  If a rose had gotten all three, then I’m certain that it would eventually grow and be ready to do so.  However, I’m also certain that even the best gardener can’t make a rose ready to grow out of the blue.  And I’m also certain that there’s no such thing as a rose that can make itself ready to bloom on its own.  But, I see people living the myth that someone who abuses drugs and/or alcohol can be ready to quit out of the blue.

Nothing happens out of the blue, ready or not.  Someone doesn’t end up addicted to anything overnight.  An addiction develops over time, similar to the way many diseases develop, if left untreated.  Once a full-blown addiction takes over, it may seem like it just happened, like it snuck up on the person.  But the reality is that it didn’t.  An addiction needed to grow and be fed in order for it to bloom.  All sorts of things went into the developing addiction: struggles in school, traumatic situations, exposure to violence, poverty, lack of opportunities: All sorts of stuff built up and on top of a given person.  They built up and built up until he or she simply ran out of ways to cope and what started out as a good time became a way to face the tribulations of life.  Just like the rose, the addiction needed the right soil, water, and light for it to grow and bloom.  Ready or not.

Recovery is the same in that it takes time to develop readiness.  I’ve heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” more times than I care to count.  But, it’s not about getting someone to drink; it’s about convincing him that he’s thirsty.  In time, by reinforcing the adverse consequences of an addiction, recovery can be developed, just like the addiction developed.  But it takes time and patience and daily focused effort on creating the conditions for recovery.