Where a drunk stumbles, there you will find recovery’s heart.
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If I could give away one secret it would be that we do not know everything about alcohol or drug addiction but we often like to think we do. Both alcohol and drug addiction are heartbreaking behaviors that can rip lives apart, but we don’t really now exactly why one person is more impacted than another. There are many theories and studies that can give clues to why alcohol or drug addiction may occur, but none that conclusively pinpoint a “why” for everyone.
You would think that by now we would of come up with an agreed upon specific blueprint on how to overcome alcohol or drugs, or created a cure that eliminates this awful disease for everyone. But we have not and there are often as many opinions as people in the room. There is no one way that will work for everyone. Sure, many have obtained sobriety through AA, NA, medication or an alcohol or drug program, but not everyone subscribes to the efficacy of these approaches nor have these approaches been successful for everyone. In fact, some don’t even believe alcohol or drug addiction is a brain disease but rather a symptom caused by a deficit in someone’s life. Don’t get me wrong, research has vastly improved our knowledge of the relationship and impact of alcohol and drugs on the brain, but it does not tell the whole story especially when we realize how much of recovery is driven by individual experiences, spiritual awakenings, character examinations, “higher powers” and clever cliches.
There are 12 step groups, non-12 step groups, treatment programs, counseling, etc., that all passionately promote their own program successes and can be effective for a lot of people, but none can say they effectively work for everyone. In fact, some research shows that for some people brief interventions, social connections or life transitions can be as or more effective in overcoming drug or alcohol addiction than traditional treatment approaches.
There is no one answer to why drug or alcohol addiction occurs, no one way to recover from alcohol or drugs and no treatment center, group or counselor that has the one answer for everyone.
There is often a tendency for both the professionals and those who have recovered from alcohol or drugs to proclaim that they hold the keys to success in recovery. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but to make an absolute statement of what addiction is or that you must recover their way or risk failure, is dangerous. In stating that their way is the only way to recover, they eliminate other plausible avenues that could be beneficial in helping others overcome alcohol or drugs or push away those who may not of been successful utilizing their approach.
I feel we are often only presented with a limited idea of what recovery actually is about. In reality there is a wide spectrum of ways people have used to overcome their drug or alcohol problem. The purpose of this site is to present some thoughts on this wider spectrum of recovery that you may not have heard or just never been told. It is to explore the different faces of alcohol or drug addiction to better understand what can be impactful for a successful recovery.
But most importantly it is to let the alcohol or drug user know that we need them, to help show us the way. To bring their knowledge and experiences into the whole recovery equation so we can learn from the road that they took. Recovery is not just conforming but forming a way to a better life. There are many ways to walk and the only wrong way is the one that does not work for you. Everyone’s ideas matter, not just the ones who say most confidently what should matter. We are all part of what makes up this thing we call alcohol and drug recovery and in this diverse richness comes power to find a way out of this horrible struggle of addiction. If we listen, we will find that it is through each person’s unique journey to recovery that we can eventually improve our understanding of addiction and come closer to knowing and understanding recovery’s heart.