Addiction is one of the most destructive things in life. It can take your health, your relationships, and your job. At some point, people who are a part of those things in your life may have staged an intervention, as described at http://www.greenhousetreatment.com/intervention/, and helped you get treatment.
Fortunately, beating a substance abuse problem through treatment, often after an intervention, can help you restore the things you lost to addiction. And it’s that side of the equation where you need to focus your attention after beating your problem.
Once you have successfully defeated a substance abuse problem, you know that your recovery isn’t complete. It never is. Any treatment system you may have gone through has undoubtedly told you that you are always at risk of a relapse, right up until the day you die. It has happened to countless addicts, and it can happen to you.
Should you live in fear? No, of course not. Fear can actually be counterproductive in fighting the risk of relapse, because sometimes the thing you fear most is the very thing you choose. You beat that fear by going out into life and not relapsing–and that means it takes the rest of your life.
Being aware of the hazards that can push you back into a relapse is a critical step. If you know where the land mines are, you won’t step on them. Be vigilant to these hazards.
Triggers May Still Exist
During your recovery, you should have addressed the underlying problem behind your addiction. There may have been family issues, work stress, or mental health problems that drove you to drugs or alcohol. And the problem is that these stressors will still exist even if your habit no longer does.
It is necessary for the recovering addict to find new ways of coping with old problems if they want to avoid a return to their addiction. Alcoholism driven by marital issues will return if the marriage isn’t improved. Stress over workplace issues can return an addict to substance abuse if career worries aren’t addressed.
You get the point. You must be aware that the external situation that sparked your addiction one time can do it again if you don’t deal with the problem at its source.
Biology Can Still Drive Addiction
Addiction is a biological function. After consumption of the substance, the brain becomes programmed to crave it and seek it out. This is a chemical process in the brain that therapy or positive thinking can’t always conquer.
So the addict must be aware that the conscious mind doesn’t get complete control of the process. Instead, he or she needs to be aware of the need for medical assistance in continuing to keep the addiction at bay.
This can be a process that requires medication or other therapies for many years, and much like other mental disorders like bipolar disorder, the patient will often discontinue treatment because he or she “feels fine” and no longer thinks it’s an issue. Such a step can return the addict to abuse again.
There’s Just Too Much At Stake
Continuing to stay sober during the recovery process can be a little like paying insurance. You may go years and years investing your money and time into your continuing treatment without ever having the slightest weak moment. You may begin to feel that you don’t need any more help, and that you are wasting your money and time.
Think again. Remember where you were. Remember how you got there. Remember what you lost. Remember all the struggles you went through to defeat the problem, and remember that a presumption that things are safe is one of the most dangerous things you can develop right now.
If you’re thinking of quitting your AA group because you don’t believe you have a desire to drink, keep going anyway. On the outside chance that you really wouldn’t end up drinking again, you still could be of benefit to others in their recovery. There were probably other alcoholics whose success inspired you; return the favor to the newest members of the group.
Addiction is a slippery slope that many of us go down without realizing how dangerous it is. Fighting our way back to the top is very difficult, but the tragedy of our initial addiction and the victory of our initial recovery will be washed away if we slide down the slope again. Be vigilant for the rest of your life.