Addiction Recovery Is Not a Linear Process
When I look back over my time in addiction recovery, it would seem that this process was linear. In other words, it would appear that there was some kind of flow that provided me with a sense of well-being and confidence that I would no longer have to worry about picking up a drink or drug again. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality, for me, is that recovery from addiction rarely occurs in a straight line.
The Reality of Addiction Recovery and Relapse
For instance, I would say that for many addicts, drug and alcohol relapse is a part of the process of recovery from addiction. Unfortunately this can be extremely painful and often does significant damage to the addict’s life. But as it says in recovery literature, “There may be times when a relapse lays the groundwork for complete freedom.” (Recovery and Relapse, Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text). So what does this mean? Well, when you think about it, a drug or alcohol relapse can sometimes be a part of “hitting bottom” for the individual. I have seen this happen in many people’s lives, including my own.
The idea of a relapse also brings with it a certain level of fear for many. You know, the “What if’s?” What if I lose my job, my family, my things? For me the fear of relapse was tied into my mental health. I was afraid of losing my mind, for good. Having a history of bipolar disorder, I was terrified of the never ending revolving door of psych hospitalizations that I was inevitably facing unless I abstained from alcohol and drugs. Yes, fear can be a good thing. It can motivate us to make the necessary changes in our lives to bring about a healthy way of living.
The Inward Journey of Addiction Recovery
So for me, addiction recovery hasn’t been so much linear as it has been a spiral, in an inward sense. The longer I stay clean, the more I learn about myself. And after 25 years, I’m still learning. And that’s the beauty. When I consider the times when it would have been so easy to throw in the towel and give in to the drugs I realize that I have been given a real gift.
Sometimes recovery can be a downright rollercoaster of emotions, but that’s okay. Just being able to feel is a blessing. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
CASAC, K. (2013, February 18). Addiction Recovery Is Not a Linear Process, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/debunkingaddiction/2013/02/addiction-recovery-is-not-a-linear-process