What does it mean to be in Recovery?


Is recovery just about abstinence? 

Addiction is a mental disease of obsession, so this brings the question “if you can remove the substances does that mean you are recovered or in recovery?” To answer this question we must define recovery. The first two definitions from google are ” a return to a normal state of mind” and “the action or process of regaining possession or control of something lost.” Something lost like, “you lost your mind?” 

One is in recovery when they have recovered normalcy in their brain functions, but what about the people who never had it to begin with? Recovery is not a black and white formula, it is relevant to the person’s addiction. If someone is living on the street consuming only drugs and alcohol and manages to get themselves a home, a job, and three meals a day, but may still need medical assistance, they are on the road to recovery. People can not evolve far unless their basic needs are met, and when our brains are in active addiction, they are hijacked. So the question that persists is how is your brain? 

When substances are removed is there something else to replace that drug or has your brain leveled out and you feel a baseline happiness. I often see people do the former. Drugs and alcohol were the addiction, but replaced with food, compulsive sex, co-dependency, or/and fill in the blank. If you are not content without addictively participating in a substance your brain is still in active addiction even though you are on a path of recovery. Often programs and recovery feel like wack-a-mole, because once one addiction is under control it may seem a new one pops up. 

One of the biggest issues with addiction is the characteristics that follow them. You may often find dishonesty, financial debt, health problems, and poor relationships. These are the symptoms of compulsive behavior, and compulsive behaviors are the symptoms of neurological imbalance. Addictions thrive in secrecy and deceit these behaviors give our brains the opportunity to justify themselves. My hope is this short essay has given you some perspective about what it means to be in recovery, so ask yourself how is your brain doing? How do you feel when you are not sleeping around, stuffing your face, or buying frivolously? Yes, it may be better than the alternative but be aware there is still a road ahead. The core work can be done with the help of a therapist and support, but don’t seel yourself or the ones you love short with a half-measure of true recovery.




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