What Does It Mean to Be in Addiction Recovery?

It just means that you're working to successfully manage your addiction and regain control of your life. When someone says they are “in recovery,” they usually mean they are being treated for their drug or alcohol addiction. The recovery covers a lot of territory. Many people use “Recovery” as a synonym for “in remission.” A process of change in which people improve their health and well-being, lead self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.

Recovery from addiction is much more than just abstinence from a substance or behavior. Abstinence can be, and usually is, a critical component of the addiction recovery process, but abstinence does not necessarily equate to recovery. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U. S., recovery is “a process of change through which people improve their health and well-being, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”Through the addiction recovery process, people can change and drastically improve their physical, mental, spiritual, financial health, relationships, parenting skills, professional abilities, and their overall life trajectory.

But also addiction to drastic changes in life in all walks of life, recovery from addiction also teaches many valuable lessons. Below are just a few important lessons that can be learned through the recovery process from addictions that have a psychological background. Each individual builds their own sense of meaning and purpose in their life. The feeling that life has meaning and purpose can come from a variety of areas, such as profession, family, nature or spirituality and religiosity, among others. Sobriety can often be a catalyst for one's sense of meaning and purpose in the world in various ways, whether being a better parent, a better colleague, a best friend, a better worker, a better member of the community, having a better sense of your spiritual experience on Earth, etc. In addition, many people in addiction recovery have discovered that their suffering during active addiction has led to personal transformation and, in some cases, their experiences are used to help others with similar problems. Retribution is very important for many people recovering from addiction and, in many cases, it is critical to their sobriety.

The Twelve Steps philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous states that an alcoholic helps another alcoholic as his “main purpose”. Having a sense of meaning and purpose in life is extremely important to one's overall well-being and quality of life, as it impacts us physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, relationally and in every sense in between. Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychologist and Holocaust survivor, believed that meaning and purpose are central to human experience, and credits his own meaning and purpose in life as his mechanism of survival during the Holocaust. Recovery from any illness, such as an addiction, can be a great catalyst for finding the meaning and purpose of life, and is a valuable lesson for addiction recovery. In turn, low self-esteem often exacerbates substance use or addictive behavior. The individual finds solace in his addiction, as it tends to distract or numb him from his feelings of inferiority and insecurity, and also serves to give a false sense of trust. While all substances can serve these purposes, certain substances (often depressants) such as opioids (heroin, oxycodone or fentanyl), alcohol and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin or Ativan) do a good job of numbing emotional pain; while other substances (often stimulants) such as cocaine and amphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine Modafinil Methamphetamine) do a good job of providing a false sense of confidence. Recovery from addiction often naturally results in an increased sense of value and self-esteem simply by being able to stop engaging in addictive behavior and let go of compromising behaviors that often coincide with addiction.

In addition, addiction recovery teaches people to develop their sense of worth and esteem by “doing the right thing”.In addition people recovering from addiction can often rebuild their relationships careers health and other areas of life so important that they improve their sense of self-esteem confidence and dignity These issues are often worked with addiction professionals during the addiction treatment process. This is important because gratitude plays a fundamental role in our mood our behavior and our vision of life Studies Reflect Gratitude Improves Mental Health Decision Making Relationships Resilience Sleep Empathy And More As such not only are people who are in a state of gratitude less likely to relapse into their addictive behavior but they are also likely to have a better quality of life overall. Mindfulness gives an individual the ability to be in the present moment so it focuses less on the past leading to depression and less focused on the future which generates anxiety both common triggers for a relapse Being aware also gives one the ability to tune into one's physical and mental states observing thoughts feelings and sensations without judging them. Mindfulness is used in addiction therapy in various ways such as a stress reduction technique a self-care tool a coping mechanism a relaxation technique self-regulation resilience and a general mechanism to improve the well-being of the body and mind. One reason people become addicted to drugs alcohol gambling or other addictions is that it is the only thing in life that gives them pleasure Because of the impact that addictions have on the hijacking of the brain's reward system people who are addicted often report that they have a low mood lose interest in other things they used to find pleasurable And that they can only find comfort in their addiction. As such they often do not find natural pleasure in life In addition withdrawal from alcohol or drugs such as opioids or benzodiazepines is probably the opposite of a pleasant experience Fortunately recovering from an addiction allows the brain to heal Over time the brain no longer becomes dependent on an addictive substance or addictive behavior to produce pleasure The brain is capable Of producing natural “feel-good” chemicals Simple things like a beautiful sunrise or sunset can bring joy.

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