What is Recovery? Why would an addict choose to leave their drug of choice? Why go through the pain? Most addicts feel the loss of their drug as a non- addict feels when they go through the death of a loved one, or the break-up of a close relationship. In such cases an addict desires to return to their old ways as a non-addict wishes the return to happier times. An addict cannot conceive that their actions are self destructive and hurtful to others. Addicts can only see as far as their next fix, the promise of all the pleasures and rewards that we so desire. The false hope that only addicts believe, again and again.
This is why addicts need rehab. Not to just physically remove the chemicals that poison us from our body. Not to sit around rehashing old stories of pain and destruction. Not to make new friends and learn new ways to do old habits. Not to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee all day. Not to become what is known as a dry drunk. No!
Rehab + Courage + Determination + Hope = Recovery.
Recovery = lifelong
….So how does 1+2=3 but 3=Forever? Let’s investigate…
The first step in Rehab is detoxification. Some rehabs – and trust me as I have experienced this myself – will throw an addict in a room for a week with a bucket and lock the door. There are others with a slogan “No Pill but the Gospel!” Thank God there are more modern rehabs. At ARCA detoxification is a medical process. This involves you being lightly sedated so you do not experience the painful withdrawals. In 3-5 days the drug is completely removed from your system and you don’t have to suffer whilst going through the detox.
The next stage is where the hard work begins. The groundwork in building a foundation that will be a very difficult but rewarding journey. It’s about educating and empowering the addict to live a healthy and productive life. A life bearing fruit for all to see. To be proud of achievements and overcome obstacles, to live life on life’s terms. Getting through rehab is the easy part. It’s what comes after that takes all the tools we learn in rehab to successfully navigate. It doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen in 21 days, it’s lifelong. At ARCA there are support groups for patients even after they have left so that they continually upgrade their skills and share their troubles as we understand that this journey takes time and commitment.
So once an addict leaves what keeps them pushing forward? Simply put, Life.
Life is amazing, life is full of joy and pleasures. Search it out and be surprised. Smile and soak in the sunshine. Seems obvious to most people, but not to addicts. Which is why addicts need guidance, we need a small push in the right direction and some motivation in the beginning. Initially addicts might feel like new born infants. We might not know how to handle certain situations. Things look different, feel different, smell different, taste different….everything is different. What used to be good is now bad, what was bad is now good. An addict comes out into a world he or she used to know so well, to a world that doesn’t seem to want them around. The fog of war remains thick upon the soul of a recovering addict. Don’t let it get them down. Slowly, everyday it gets better. The fog will lift. The sun will shine.
Not all people were made the same and not all addicts think the same. Every addict faces different obstacles in recovery. Our paths wind along a very narrow pathway on the edge of a very high cliff, with a single mistake having the ability to send us all the way down to a very rocky bottom. Every addict has to wake up every day and battle our demons with everything we’ve got. At the end of the day we climb into bed with a feeling of success, only to wake up again in the morning to start it all over again.
This fact makes addicts some of the strongest people on the planet. We are soldiers, warriors, we fight an enemy within us. I am proud to be an addict in recovery, I am proud to be among the bravest souls on the planet, I am proud to be clean.