There are certain things people in recovery wish you knew to facilitate a greater understanding and empathy. Recovery from addiction is a long and difficult process, but it is possible. People in recovery face many challenges, both in their journey to sobriety and in maintaining their sobriety. Here are some things people in recovery wish you knew about addiction and recovery.
Addiction Is a Disease
For many years, addiction has been viewed as a moral failing or the result of personal weakness. Unfortunately, this misconception has caused a great deal of stigma and shame to be placed on those struggling with addiction. The truth is that addiction is not a choice, but rather a chronic and progressive medical condition. Substance abuse affects changes in both brain structure and chemistry, creating an almost overpowering impulse to continue using regardless of the consequences.
People suffering from addiction often lack control over their own behavior, and are unable to stop using even when they want to. Recovery efforts are needed in order for long-lasting change to take place – if left untreated, addiction can lead to significant physical and psychological damage. It’s important for everyone to recognize the realities of substance use disorder so that those affected can receive the care and support they need for meaningful recovery.
Addiction is a serious public health issue – one that requires professional attention rather than moral judgment or criticism. Opioid use in Arizona, for example, is at a catastrophic level. Only by understanding that it is indeed a disease can we work towards providing effective treatment and prevention measures so all individuals have access to the tools necessary for obtaining lasting sobriety.
We Have an Illness
It’s easy to forget that addiction is an illness, and people in recovery aren’t all that different from healthy individuals. The common cliches often paint a picture of addicts as depraved or immoral individuals who lack self-control, but nothing could be further from the truth. Addiction is a real illness that affects people of every gender and socioeconomic background all over the world. It impacts all aspects of life, including mental health, physical health, and relationships with others. Learning to manage it requires patience, dedication, and courage – qualities that deserve admiration and respect rather than judgment or criticism.
People in recovery are still human beings with hopes and dreams for the future who deserve to be accepted for who they are and treated with kindness, not coldness or disdain. With support from family members, friends, healthcare providers, and other members of the community, anyone can successfully manage their addiction with time. By realizing that everyone is just a person struggling against an invisible illness, we can build more compassionate communities across the globe.
Recovery Takes Effort
Recovery is often not a linear process, but it does take time, effort and patience. Pushing too hard can lead to setbacks, so it’s important to be realistic about the pace of progress. It’s easy to become discouraged or overwhelmed by roadblocks along the way or perceive your progress as being too slow. Building self-awareness is essential in this situation, so you can identify strategies such as progressive relaxation and reframing that help to manage frustrating physical and emotional symptoms. Just like any other journey, the recovery path will have its highs and lows, but with practice it can become easier over time to work through difficulties.
Relapse Can Be a Part of Recovery
While everyone hopes to remain sober once they enter recovery, the truth is that relapse can and does happen. Many recovering individuals take a relapse as a sign of failure, but this simply isn’t true. Relapse occurs when old habits, triggers and cravings resurface, making it difficult to resist temptation. Fortunately, setbacks provide an opportunity to learn and grow. Each time you form a new plan, gain insight into your triggers and develop new coping skills. It’s important to remember that one slip-up is never indicative of your entire recovery journey – it happens, but it doesn’t have to derail years of progress! Be proactive in learning relapse prevention strategies.
Regaining control can be difficult after experiencing a setback, so take time for self-care between each attempt. Remind yourself that recovery isn’t linear – sometimes there will be setbacks along the way – so don’t give up if you relapse. Instead, stay focused on the long-term goal: lifelong sobriety with room for learning along your journey. With perseverance and dedication, it’s possible to overcome any obstacle in your path even after experiencing what can feel like an ultimate failure during relapse. Keep going – courage is taking another step forward even after mistakes are made! The only real failure is giving up completely; no matter what happens, you have always succeeded in getting yourself back on track each day again for a better future ahead!
Sobriety Isn’t Easy
Navigating life without the use of drugs or alcohol may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but it is possible – and well worth it if sobriety is your goal. The road to long-term sobriety isn’t easy, but the rewards are endless. Most people find that when they decide to stop drinking or using drugs, their mood and outlook on life improve. They also report having more energy, better concentration, and improved relationships with family, friends and co-workers. In addition to physical and mental benefits, sobriety often helps people acknowledge and become aware of emotions that have been suppressed by alcohol or drug use. People who choose to remain sober start to experience a sense of inner peace as they gain control of their lives again. With dedication, hard work and perseverance, you can achieve lasting sobriety – and make every moment count along the way! Getting into or back into sobriety is becoming a social movement.
People in Recovery Can Live a Full Life
People in recovery from addiction often experience tremendous hardship, but this does not mean that a full and rewarding life is impossible. In fact, individuals who have navigated the difficult path of recovery are often uniquely capable of enjoying lives filled with joy, abundance, and purpose. Despite the challenges they have faced, these individuals are typically in great positions to nurture deep relationships and cultivate meaningful connections with others.
With newfound awareness surrounding their mental health and well-being, people in recovery can build new habits and develop comprehensive plans for personal growth and development. Finally, because of their strength and determination to overcome adversity, those in recovery can serve as powerful sources of inspiration to others seeking to take similar steps forward on their own paths toward positive change. All told, anyone who has gone through a period of addiction—and come out on the other side—can enjoy a life of amazing accomplishment and happiness.
We Can Handle Truth
We often hear people declare that it’s a ‘tough world out there’ and today’s society can be unforgivingly harsh. This is usually followed by earnest pleas to be gentle with each other and spare no expense when it comes to comforting language about substance use. But here’s the thing – we’re not fragile flowers, and deep down most of us have at least some semblance of resilience. Sure, pretending something is better than it really is may bring us temporary respite, but isn’t honesty still the best policy in the end? People are capable of adjusting to new realities, however harsh they might be, just like they always have done. In fact, a certain amount of truth-telling may even help us in developing the right strategies for success. We can handle the truth, although this doesn’t mean that it should lack compassion and decency.
After all, being open about our struggles doesn’t necessarily mean we should wallow in misery indefinitely; rather embrace what comes our way with positivity and an attitude towards life’s victories as well as its failures. At times, this might require perspective and tough love – but we’re up for it! We’re not fragile flowers – we can handle the truth when delivered with respect, kindness and understanding.
We’re Not Looking for Sympathy
While sympathy is nice, it’s not always the most helpful type of support – which is why we’re looking for understanding instead. To understand someone or their situation means actively listening to them and considering their circumstances with a degree of empathy. It requires a willingness to step outside of your own experiences and see things from a different perspective. You don’t have to agree with or approve of what they are doing, but you can still acknowledge their feelings and treat them with respect. After all, when it comes down to it, we’re all just trying to make sense of our lives in our own way – and being granted understanding is probably one of the best gifts we could ask for. So here’s us asking: understanding instead of sympathy please!
We’re Still Not Perfect
Being in recovery doesn’t always mean we are perfect and free from any trouble. It doesn’t mean that every day we are feeling great and enjoying life’s moments to the fullest. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. But that is why they say that recovery is a journey and not a destination, because it is always changing, growing and evolving. The important thing to remember during those times that are tough or overwhelming is that there will be good moments as well. We have to take the bad with the good, learn from our mistakes and keep on moving forward; even if it means going at a snail’s pace some days.
Just because we are in recovery does not mean that everything has to be all rosy – so let’s acknowledge the bad days too! If we can recognize our challenges then we will be better equipped to tackle them head-on. Afterall, challenges only help us grow and become even more resilient than ever before! Despite our best intentions, we all slip without fail at some point. Whether it’s the occasional setback or a full-fledged relapse into familiar behaviors, bad days are inevitable and part of any journey. We tend to forget that in the heat of the moment and fall prey to imposter syndrome, guilt and self-doubt. The truth is that anyone who has achieved successful recovery went through similar experiences – we just don’t hear about them because progress is a silent path.
So instead of beating ourselves up, let’s embrace bad days as an opportunity for reflection and adjustment if needed. Whether it’s making amends or pursuing alternative strategies to counteract triggers, let’s put our energy into creating better outcomes next time around instead of wallowing in guilt. After all, this is just life – not perfection! With this perspective, no matter what happens whether great or small – we always come out ahead. It’s these moments that makes us wise (and more resilient). We can turn any bad day into an invaluable learning experience: an unexpected lesson on our way to success with enough humor (and courage) to laugh it all off in the end! It’s worth every bit of effort when you look back and see how far you’ve come despite — or even because of — the bad days here and there throughout your journey!
Recovery Is a Journey
Recovery may be a bumpy road to go down, but it’s certainly no destination. After all, if there was a final destination to this journey of rehabilitation, we’d all have arrived there long ago! Everyone has their own recovery story, and no two journeys will ever look the same. What works for some people may not work for others; what is healing for one person may be an obstacle for another. There is no real finish line in the recovery process – this marathon never ends!
That said, having milestones along the way can make a huge difference in helping us find stability even through changing circumstances. We can celebrate our victories and recognize our progress, however small or large those feats may be – because every victory truly does make a difference on this lifelong path towards recovery. So remember: stay determined, stay focused and keep your eyes open for each mini-milestone along the way. Lean into your journey — you might even enjoy the ride!
We Are Capable of Greatness
We often hear skeptics who say that we are not capable of great things. But if we look around at the spectacular feats humans have achieved, it’s clear that simply isn’t true. We have accomplished feats such as stepping foot on the moon, traversing deep space and creating artificial intelligence far more powerful than anything seen before. In addition to technological breakthroughs, humanity has demonstrated great emotional resilience in times of tragedy and loss, proving again and again that our strength is incomparable.
Even in tough times, we evidence greatness within ourselves – incredible courage despite uncertainty; moral fortitude in the face of adversity; and selfless kindness when it would be so much easier to feel despair or hatred. To say that we can’t do great things would be completely untrue – for our past tells us otherwise! Our destiny lies with us, so let us not undervalue our own capabilities. After all, history could be made by any one of us – why not start today? Let’s make greatness into a reality!
Show Support By Listening and Understanding
Addiction is a complex disease that impacts people in many different ways. But one thing remains the same: addiction is not a choice. People in recovery are still people – they just have an illness. Recovery takes time, effort, and patience, but it’s worth it. Sobriety isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. People in recovery are capable of leading happy, fulfilling lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please seek help. There is hope for recovery.
As someone in recovery, I often feel like I am living in two parallel universes. In one universe, I am surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances who support my sobriety and love me unconditionally. In the other universe, I am faced with people who judge me, misunderstand me and at times make me feel like an outsider. The latter can be especially difficult during holiday gatherings or social events where drinking is involved. To help bridge the gap between these two universes, here are a few things that people in recovery wish you knew:
Recovery is a lifelong journey, not a destination – there is no “finish line.” Let us remind you that we are capable of great things, especially with the help of personalized treatment programs. Despite our struggles, we continue to fight every day and make progress towards healing ourselves and helping others. Thank you for listening.
Having been on both sides of active addition, both the person using, and the person affected by a loved one using drugs and alcohol, Lucas has been involved in recovery since 2009. He has been working in the treatment industry since 2013. Using his personal experience and wealth of knowledge learned from professional development and immersion in the recovery field, he has spoken with thousands of families and helped hundreds of people attain long-term sobriety. In 2020, the opportunity presented to join in and start Illuminate Recovery. Understanding the importance of personalized treatment plans and the complex nature between substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, has helped Illuminate Recovery build a strong curriculum and a phenomenal staff. Illuminate Recovery now has a medical doctor who is board certified in addiction medicine and a psychiatric medical doctor who works side by side with independently licensed therapists to provide compassionate and effective treatment.