If you think things are going to get remarkably better just by starting out in addiction recovery, you’re right. If you think this will happen automatically, without any effort, we need to talk.
Drugs and alcohol are to a person’s life what gas is to a forest fire; it burns out of control ever-faster and without regard for the next thing to be consumed. Getting rid of the gas doesn’t suddenly mean the fire gets put out, but it also doesn’t mean that it is going to get worse, either.
When we come in to the rooms of recovery and are disappointed that the years of damage we have inflicted upon our lives are relationships hasn’t fully been repaired after 40+ days, we need to keep things in perspective.
Addiction recovery isn’t about seeking that same euphoric high that we get when we drink or use. The first part of it is really just damage control.
Of course, this can’t be our only focus—we have to have higher aspirations than just not causing more damage than we have already done. We need to have those goals, but we also have to be realistic about how quickly those goals are attained. When it comes to feeling better, addicts and alcoholics often have rather skewed timeframes regarding how that is to progress.
Also, we have to keep in mind that picking up the rubble of our former lives takes action. We can’t just sit around, not adding to the damage, and hope that the damage already done will somehow fix itself. No, we have to put the conflagration out, throw away the bad and damaged parts of ourselves, and rebuild ourselves—often all at the same time.
Does that sound nuts and difficult? It should.
That’s no reason to throw in the towel, though. As addicts and alcoholics ourselves, or even as friend sand family of addicts and alcoholics, we are no strangers to insanity and hardship. Sure, no one wants that, but the good news is that we are already accustomed to the hardest and worst parts of addiction. Now it is just a matter of learning—learning how to rebuild and do things differently.
However, if someone isn’t inclined to take any action or make any real effort to do things differently, that is entirely their own decision as well. There are no hard-fast rules in addiction recovery. You don’t have to do anything. Then again, you also don’t have to pull the ripcord on a parachute when skydiving either—it just comes highly recommended.
Expecting changes to happen without changing the action (or inaction, depending on the circumstances) is essentially a guarantee that the misery and insanity in our lives and the lives around us will continue. Without having the proper tools to live life on life’s terms in the first place, we will eventually go back to what we know, and what we know is getting high. By comparison, addiction recovery doesn’t sound like such a hard road after all.