Recovery is a very transformative time for any addict. Making the decision to enter a treatment facility is certainly not always an easy one, but by working with counselors and taking advantage of individual and group therapy, absolutely any addict, no matter how severe their drug problem, can get clean and finally rid themselves of the vicious and painful cycle of drug use.
Treatment is not only about getting clean, however. Certainly detoxification is an important an essential part of attaining sobriety, but perhaps the most important function of recovery is that it helps a recovering addict gain tools that will be the framework for a lifetime of sobriety.
Identifying the Roots of Addiction
No two addicts are the same, and no two addictions happen for exactly the same reason. Identifying the roots of addiction is a very important way to help maintain a healthy life after recovery. Many addicts suffer from issues such as chronic depression, anxiety, or low self esteem.
These issues often stem from a variety of causes. Working with a therapist helps an addict work on the issues that contributed to their addiction in the first place so that they may continue to cultivate mental health in a way that will minimize their risk of relapsing after recovery.
Avoiding and Dealing With Triggers
All addicts and people with compulsive behaviors experience some kind of reaction when they are subjected to triggers, or people, things, or emotions that lead them to use. Identifying triggers is important because it helps a recovering addict recognize which people and situations they will want to avoid when they leave treatment.
Identifying triggers also helps the addict and their caregiver find more clues as to why they are using in the first place. Unraveling these clues helps a recovering addict get to the root of why they are using, so that they can do the mental work necessary to work on these problems, rather than numbing emotions or thoughts with drugs.
Some triggers can be totally avoided, but some are simply a fact of life. The reality is that life is full of challenges, and triggers like stress can and will happen to everyone. In treatment, an addict learns ways of dealing with unavoidable triggers other than using.
Practical Solutions to Triggers and Temptation
Many very helpful ways of dealing with triggers are used in recovery. Tools like meditation are used very early on in treatment, and are a great way of becoming more present in one’s mind while also training oneself mentally to recognize sensations such as temptation and acknowledge them without acting on them.
Tools like exercise, which is also frequently used in treatment programs, introduce a coping mechanism that releases natural hormones that regulate stress and anxiety. Exercise also cultivates a connection between mind and body and helps an addict learn to live more healthily. Recovery activities like group therapy also offer lifelong solutions to dealing with triggers.
Many recovering addicts attend twelve step meetings for their entire lives because they learn that talking about their feelings and even desires to use with other recovering addicts is a highly effective way of avoiding relapse.
Addiction is a Lifelong Disease
There is no way to cure addiction. Being an addict means always having a disease to manage. This does not mean that staying clean doesn’t get easier with time. It does. It is extremely important, however, that after an addict leaves the controlled environment of recovery that they are equipped with skills and strengths that will allow them to continue to win the battle against addiction for the rest of their lives.