Recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a major commitment – not something that one can only put partial effort into. There is nothing easy about overcoming one's dependence on alcohol, heroin, cocaine, prescription drugs, or any other kind of addictive substance. Recovery can be a long and difficult journey as one navigates the personal nuances of the recovery process.
However, dismissing recovery opportunities under the preconceived notion that “recovery doesn't work” can be detrimental to one's healthy future. Deconstructing these notions is paramount not just for promoting recovery as an option for those who may need it, but also in helping each individual approach the recovery process with an open and optimistic mind. This can help them to be more confident in their choices and aid in the development of a healthy and sober mindset.
Why Wouldn't Recovery Work?
While recovery is slowly becoming increasingly accepted and understood, there are still misconceptions about the process. Understanding the arguments of why one may not believe or trust in the recovery process can help an individual prepare for the potential dialogue ahead.
First, some may still tie the recovery process directly to a recovery facility – under the impression that if one graduates from a recovery program, then one must be fully cured of any lingering embers of addiction or the difficulties therein. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Even after one graduates from a recovery program, the stresses of addiction, urges to reengage with addictive substances, and accompanying anxiety may still be prevalent in one's life. These all may still be prevalent as they continue to adapt and strengthen their coping strategies to deal with new scenarios outside of a dedicated recovery sphere.
Second, with the prevalence of relapse, it is common to see that even those who have attended a recovery facility have ended up re-engaging with addictive substances. Relapse can indeed be a common and extraordinarily difficult hurdle for many. However, dismissing recovery as a whole because of this is another misconception. Relapse can be an unfortunate part of the recovery process, but not everyone will go through a relapse in their journey to sustained sobriety.
This notion also implies that recovery is a binary path: either one is suffering from addiction, or they are completely sober without a hiccup, with little space in between. Experiencing a relapse is unfortunate, but it does not mean that one must completely restart their recovery journey or that one has forgotten all of the skills and accomplishments made on their path to sobriety.
Relapses do mark a return to a recovery-focused program, but do not mean that one's accomplishments are meaningless or that one's skills are obsolete – they simply may just need to be adjusted and further built upon to better prevent another relapse in the future.
The Dangers of Disbelief
Distrust in the recovery process poses a very real threat to one's health. It often dismisses a specific recovery facility from being the right fit and acts to dismiss the idea of healing as a whole, further causing one to victimize themselves when facing the effects of addiction.
This is a way of thinking that does not promote an alternative to a recovery program. Instead, it simply detracts from a recovery facility without offering any other approaches to healing or sobriety, effectively ending the dialogue or even justifying one's actions. For those suffering from addiction, feeling this disbelief in the potential healing of a recovery program can be actively detrimental and difficult to discuss.
Adopting the Personal Aspect of Recovery
Thoughts and notions like “recovery doesn't work” is a very generalized statement that does not consider any personal factors whatsoever. While relapse is common, there is no way of knowing the context around another's relapse, their access to supports or additional care amidst a stressful situation, or if they were still actively participating in a recovery-focused routine.
Recovery is a personal journey first and foremost, with one's own perspectives, experiences, friends, family, and more all having a major influence on one's recovery as a whole. These are things that cannot be effectively quantified or generalized. Success in recovery is a powerful, subjective concept, with each individual being able to set their own goals and work towards them in their unique ways.
What may have seemed “unsuccessful” from the outside may be littered with a number of potent, impactful transformations made throughout the recovery process. Not only is dismissing the idea of recovery without discourse a dangerous proposition, but also a minimalizing perspective that detracts from the wholly personalized journey ahead.