Those who have been in the field of addiction and recovery can see what works and what doesn’t. They can see the patterns that are successful in addiction recovery and those that become the obstacles that lead to relapse. If a person in recovery were looking for the fundamental components to healing, growth, and staying sober, they might consider the following five factors.
Hope – When a person is hopeful they have a sense that things will work out. They have a good feeling that their efforts will lead somewhere and that although it may feel challenging, it won’t last forever. Having a vision for a future life, one that that includes health, well being, and sobriety can help to restore hope. Also, having hope can prevent feeling depressed, lost, beaten down, and confused.
Personal Responsibility – Taking responsibility for the unhealthy choices made in the past can be difficult, especially for recovering addicts. Addiction comes with so much denial and dishonesty that finally taking responsibility for life can even feel frightening. However, responsibility means having a certain respect for your life. It means recognizing that you have the power to change your life and that you’ve had that power all along. With addiction, a person rarely feels way. But if you’re in recovery, then you’ve already taken some responsibility by getting yourself the help you need.
Education – If you’re going to heal from addiction, then you’ve got to understand what it is. You’ve got to understand how it’s hurt you and how this illness has affected your body and your brain. In a way, recovery is the time to reverse the damage that addiction caused. To do that, a recovering addict needs to learn about the patterns that contribute to addiction – such as powerlessness, co-dependency, enabling, a tendency to behave compulsively, blaming others, and feeling shame. Through education a person then has the power to make different choices in life.
Self-Advocacy – It’s one thing to be in recovery and it’s another to advocate for yourself. Essentially, self advocacy is the action of speaking up for oneself or one’s views or interests. For instance, let’s say you know that there’s a really good sponsor who attends your 12-step meetings, but they are already full with 2 or 3 sponsees. Self advocacy might mean letting that sponsor know that you want to work with them once they become available to do so.
Having a Support System – If you’re in recovery, then you need to have a group of people around you who are there to support you. This might include friends, family, a sober community, a sponsor, and a drug counselor. It’s important to have both personal and professional support so that you have access to help from a variety of sources. When you’re lonely, you can call a friend. When you’re craving drugs or alcohol, you can call your sponsor. You may want to include those who can offer various forms of support such as compassion, a listening ear, understanding, love, and acceptance.
These are the five basic components of addiction recovery. If you’re eager to get sober and maintain your sobriety, consider the above for creating a solid foundation for yourself.