What is the Difference between the Treatment of Addiction and Recovery from Addiction?
I regard myself as a pretty hardcore substance abuser – drugs, alcohol, prescription meds, basically anything that will help me get high and have a good time. Lately though, the come downs have started hitting me hard and I’m trying to slow down and re-assess my current lifestyle.
So I’ve started reading about substance abuse and addiction etc. to understand the whole subject better. I’m not convinced I am an addict because I reckon I can stop this on my own, but I still want to pick up on ideas that might make it easier for me.
I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about treatment and recovery from addiction. Now can you just help me understand these two areas a bit better? From what I can gather so far, treatment seems to me about going to rehab, and recovery to NA or AA? Is that basically it?
Hi MatthewTreatment of addiction
is basically what you do to get clean or sober – and as the term treatment implies you enlist the help of professionals in the field of addiction to help with that.
It may be that you do that in a rehab environment, or you may see those specialists independently outside of a rehab environment. So treatment isn’t necessarily just about rehab, many people get help/treatment outside of a rehab environment. Others don’t even enlist in any kind of
treatment program and still get clean.Recovery from addiction
is what you do to ensure you maintain your sobriety. Many people follow formal recovery programs like AA and NA. But many also don’t and are successful.
I see recovery as a journey of self growth and exploration, and if you’re committed to that process, whether or not you follow a formal program, means I believe anyone can overcome their addiction.
Something to be aware of is dry drunk
syndrome. That basically means you’re able to abstain from using or drinking, but are just as miserable and unhappy as when you were. That can be a dangerous place to be because it’s a very easy place to relapse from – and it’s an easy trap to fall into if you’re not actively working at your recovery.
Working at your recovery means you will develop in self-awareness, peace, purpose and contentment – and eventually you’ll have come so far that a life of booze and drugs is just not on the radar for you anymore. And it’s something once you start, you never stop doing because you realise how short life is - and how much there is to still discover about yourself.
So recovery is a lot more than AA or NA or other 12 step programs. It's a process, an unfolding, and can be done in a number of different ways.
Hope that helps.