Addiction is a progressive illness that develops over time, so it goes without saying that recovering from this illness will also take time. No magic pill will make you sober overnight and there is no cure for addiction. It is something that must be worked on for the rest of your life.
It can be tough for many recovering addicts to cope with the slow pace of recovery, but it is worth remembering that you did not wake up one morning addicted to drugs or alcohol; it crept up on you slowly. You need to be prepared to take your recovery journey one day at a time and, as you move forward, you will feel stronger and more stable.
The Basis of Recovery
Most people with no experience of addiction assume it is simply a matter of not taking drugs or drinking alcohol again and you are better. However, it is so much more than that. While abstinence is a huge part of recovery, it is not the only part. Those who want to live a long and healthy sober life will need to commit to abstinence, join a fellowship programme, and work hard to maintain their sobriety for the rest of their lives.
Committing to Sobriety
The first step on the journey to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. This is often a huge stumbling block because many addicts are unable to see the truth that is in front of them. They refuse to accept that they could have a problem, or else would rather deny it than face their fear of rehabilitation.
Nevertheless, once an addict has accepted that he or she has a problem, that person is ready to take the next step, which is committing to a life of sobriety. It is important to remember that very few recovering addicts can manage controlled drinking or drug taking. You may have heard that you will not need to quit entirely and that you could have the odd drink every now and again, but this is never the case. Even if you could control your drinking for a while, there will come a point when you start to believe that you can have another one, and then another one, and, before you know it, you will be back on the path to self-destruction once again.
The same can be said for recovering drug addicts who think they can drink alcohol instead of taking drugs. Remember that the addiction is in the person and not the substance. You have to be prepared to commit to a sober life going forward.
Join a Fellowship Programme
Most rehabilitation clinics today incorporate some elements of the 12-step model of abstinence, and many of them base their entire programme around it. It is likely that your counsellor or therapist will encourage you to join a fellowship programme and to follow the 12-steps.
Many recovering addicts will attend fellowship meetings for the rest of their lives as they find that this is the only way to keep on the straight and narrow. You will not have to attend daily or even weekly meetings once you have been in recovery for a long time. Some former addicts will attend one meeting a month or one every two or three months.
Maintaining Your Sobriety
Recovering from addiction is not going to be easy, but it is possible. Nonetheless, it is something that you will have to work hard to maintain. You are always going to be at risk of relapse no matter how long you have been in recovery, so it is dangerous to become complacent. Stay alert to the triggers and temptations that could put your recovery at risk and you will be able to enjoy a full and happy life.