Guest Blogger: Mark Davis
If you have ever struggled with addiction or have a friend or family member who has, you know just
how difficult recovery can be. Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction involves not only changing behaviors but changing your entire lifestyle and, in many, cases, your environment. It can be very scary for addicts who have been trapped in the same cycle for years. Relapse is common – many addicts can relapse several times before they commit to a lengthy recovery. But addiction counselors and rehabilitation experts will tell you that relapse means a lot more than just using substances again. It means returning to an old way of thinking and old behavior patterns – the ones that led them to use in the beginning.
The fear of relapse is one of the challenges addicts in recovery face every day; but fortunately, there are many steps and methods of avoiding relapse for them to focus on. But addicts can also fear success – what if they don’t relapse? They can often feel ill-equipped to deal with daily life and planning for a future without drugs and alcohol, and the nagging fear that they just won’t be able to handle it can lead them to give up.
Recovery can cause a lot of restlessness. Life in rehab and after can feel mundane for people who are used to an erratic and chaotic lifestyle. Many people start using in the first place because of boredom – finding hobbies, passions, and ways to exert energy can be incredibly important. Many recovering addicts do well with charities and volunteer work, because focusing on something outside of themselves can be a relief.
3. Lack of Support
The success of many recovering addicts is strengthened enormously by the support of their families. Often, family members have to overcome the pain and disappointment an addict may have caused them in the past in order to support their recovery, and some addicts may have families unwilling to do that. Even more may come from families of addicts or unhealthy backgrounds that make them feel alone in the world. This is why counseling sessions and support groups are so vital.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
Addicts may believe that recovery will be much easier than it is, or that they won’t face struggles with guilt and fear, or the constant challenges of staying sober. They may have an unrealistic expectation of the time it takes to really get clean, or they may be frustrated with their progress. A strong addiction counselor can help them manage their expectations along the way, to prevent the feeling of failure when things don’t go exactly the way they planned.
Many addictive substances can settle into our body in trace amounts for years, making cravings for drugs and alcohol incredibly difficult to battle. But watching an addict overcome the urge to use and begin to change their life can be extremely rewarding. It’s a testament to what we are capable of as human beings, to rise out of difficult circumstances, and to keep going, even if we may stumble along the way.
About the Author
Mark Davis writes articles for educational sites and suggests finding information about the Top 10 Best Online Addiction Counseling Degree Programs.