I have heard addiction recovery talked about as a journey. Usually within well intentioned memes or a casually thrown comment is the idea that we are on a journey of recovery. But even if we are on the same road, are we all starting from the same place? Do we need the same approach?
So what is recovery? Now there is a question that raises heads and eyebrows. Professionals fervently committed to total abstinence go head to head with harm reduction advocates, facts and statistics are brandished like weapons and opinions are often formed based on a fixed idea on what addiction recovery is perceived to be, the most favourable outcome being as close to this ideal as possible.
Abstinence or not?
But really the question should be ‘What is recovery to you?’. As a Recovery Coach it is one of the first questions I ask. For the man or woman who has been living in the painful existence of active addiction for years. Who has perhaps been trying desperately to control their using, the answer to my question is simple. ‘I just want to stop using and feel better, to be able to live.’
Then there is the client that has begun to feel that his drinking is a bit excessive, that he is beginning to be late for work, or have arguments with his wife. He feels uncomfortable in hearing about his excesses and recognises that he needs to make a change. Total abstinence to him might seem unnecessary, or extreme.He might want to still enjoy a few drinks with friends at the weekend but be able to avoid getting drunk.
Opposite ends of what can be described as an illness, or perhaps more accurately, a spectrum of Addiction.
If you believe that addiction is a disease then you might say that abstinence is the only solution to halting its progression. I think that supporting and encouraging a persons own version of recovery will allow them to find out what works, and what doesn’t. In the end they need to make that journey and discover where they can be successful
Whatever someone sees their recovery as, I am happy to support and motivate them to find and implement the action required. Your recovery is your own and if you would like to find out how I can help you, contact me