We are conditioned to want instant gratification in all areas of our lives and we have trouble waiting in lines or waiting for someone (or some prerecorded voice) to answer our phone. And, when our devices don’t instantaneously function, we go a bit crazy. And, addiction and substance abuse disorders are all about wanting instantaneous mood alteration.
It’s no wonder then that when we decide to go for recovery help, that we expect recovery to happen right away. We want instant recovery. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. It is a process and here’s what the stages of recovery look like:
Abstinence from the use of life damaging substances
Understanding the progression of the substance use disorder
We can’t begin the real journey of recovery until we let go of actual substance use. Our bodies and minds have been fogged up for years and need to learn to function without them.
Gaining an understanding of the progression of the disorder can help us understand how we got here...how much the substances are driving the high jacked plane.
Life style changes
Disconnecting with the drug/alcohol lifestyle
One of the main barriers to long term recovery is the inability to disconnect from high risk people and places. Many people don’t let go and get dragged back into the old lifestyle and substance use. That includes getting rid of phone and social media contacts. You can’t run with the winners if you stay connected to those who are still using. Period.
The addiction has impacted all areas of our lives...body...soul...and spirit. All of those ares need healing. Start small. Stay steady.
Moving away from self-centeredness
Repairing damage to relationships
Forgiveness from self and others
This is a big area, and needs time and guidance in most cases. We have hurt ourself and others. The 12 Step programs provide some good guidance and support in these areas, as does counseling. Here’s where many get off the path.
Exploring underlying issues that may have fueled the use of substances
Addressing repressed emotions
Shame and guilt
Family of origin issues
Here’s where the healing needs to be done and usually requires the help of others who have worked their way through. Peer support is way helpful.
Finding renewed or new purpose and meaning in our lives
Reestablishing lost and damaged value systems
Developing spiritual resources and practices
Our spirits and souls have been damaged as well. We have often lost our way and drifted from our core values. We are not talking necessarily about religion here, but about the broader area of spirituality, about finding purpose and meaning and something to live for.
We’ll be looking at all of these areas on the blog. This is just a road map for the journey so you can figure out where you are in your recovery journey.