The road to addiction recovery is not an easy one to travel. Addiction as a disease can have a lasting grip that is the main catalyst for the inability to identify the need for recovery, as well as action.
Each person has his or her own unique addiction, and there is certainly not one uniform road toward addiction treatment. A drug or alcohol addict can be propelled into addiction by social, psychological, and biological issues, as well as family history.
This is why no one’s path to sobriety can be used in practice for successful recovery. After all, an addict is always an addict, it simply depends on if they are practicing or not. There are a few common checkpoints on the road to addiction recovery. Let’s take an in-depth view of them.
1. The Awareness Moment Of Addiction
Many people stumble upon their addiction via some sort of awareness moment. This moment happens in many ways, from family discussions to friends beginning to point out addictive behavior. An addict may also find the awareness moment to be a bit more blunt, as in the case of legal issues that result due to addiction.
The addict is still a practicing addict at this point. They have yet to make a decision about their recovery or treatment, still using, but they are now aware. This is often a pivotal stage that the road to addiction recovery begins.
“Addiction and recovery can look differently from individual to individual. As surely as we can be addicted to alcohol, substances, or medications, we can just as easily be addicted to love, work, sex, dieting, exercise, skin picking, and food,” Dr. Julie K. Jones explained in PsychCentral.
Within this awareness moment actual acknowledgement of addiction arises, and the addict may begin to see the importance of intervention and action to overcome their disease. This is that moment when denial begins to slip away, but action still has not become a priority.
2. Taking The First Action Step Toward Recovery
The next checkpoint on the road to addiction recovery is action. This is of course easier said than actually done. The second checkpoint toward recovery and treatment can take weeks, months, and in some cases years. However, when the addict begins to take action, they have hit the second checkpoint.
How does this happen? Most of the time an addict will decide to take action after learning more about their disease and how it impacts their life, and the lives of those around them that care. This is vital, since it is the first moment in which he or she will see things beyond themselves.
3. Recovery And Treatment Begins Here
The third checkpoint on the road to recovery and treatment is the actual beginning of actual recovery. In this stage, the addict begins to seek out information, insight, and advice about recovery and what it means to live as a non-practicing addict.
He or she may begin reading about recovery programs, treatment facilities, and asking those they know who are clean and sober. During this checkpoint, many addicts will start attending meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) depending on their drug or drugs of choice.
He or she may also feel the need to go to a recovery program or facility to get another level of support to help them fight their disease. More often than not an intervention by friends and family, or the legal system, urges this on.
4. Letting Go of Triggers
Unfortunately, one of the biggest battles for addicts is difficulty eliminating triggers. For example, they may be in a relationship with someone who was also abusing a substance alongside them. If your partner isn’t willing to change, or could influence your path back into addiction, it’s time to let go.
Furthermore, research has shown that there is a strong link between substance abuse and abusive behavior. Alcohol in particular has a high relationship with domestic crime. With this in mind, addicts may find themselves returning to abusive households—whether through emotional abuse or physical abuse.
“Substance abuse contributes to domestic violence is a highly complex way,” says the Law Office of Matthew Hand, domestic violence lawyers in Denver CO. “If ties with an abusive person cannot be broken amicably, recovering addicts should seek legal help to eliminate instances of abuse that hinder their road to recovery.”
5. The Addiction Recovery Honeymoon Stage
The honeymoon stage of addiction, often referred to as the “pink cloud,” a very important time period that holds powerful achievement, yet also presents a very serious risk.
During the fourth checkpoint of addiction recovery, the addict has stopped using his or her drug or drink of choice and is in actively battling their disease. This is great, but dangerous. Early recovery causes vulnerability in addicts, since they are forging a new way of life without the people and places that represented or facilitated their addiction.
The fourth checkpoint is when relapse is at its greatest potential. It is essential for addicts to continue their routines of sobriety and stay humble, not thinking they are cured, because there is sadly no cure for addiction.
6. A Foundation For Long-Term Recovery Is Solidified
Like all new things built, it is important to have a strong and sturdy foundation to continue the build upon. The last checkpoint of addiction recovery is the time when this foundation is solidified.
Here addicts have put in the work, are sober for a substantial amount of time, have a sponsor, have completed rehab (if that was the case), and are actively working their addiction recovery program of choice.
In Conclusion . . .
Addicts are always going to be addicts. Like any disease, it sticks around for a lifetime. The addiction recovery process is certainly not a one-size-fits-all thing, since everyone and every addiction issue is unique. The most important part of recovery in many ways is support.