By: Brian Diggins
Many Alcohol and Drug Recovery Programs and Support Groups predicate their treatment upon the erroneous theory that all addiction is a disease. They claim that the disease of addiction is incurable, and most of these programs spend a good deal of time focusing on convincing the addict – how powerless they are to overcome this incurable ailment. Studies have shown that lifetime recovery for addiction averages about five to six percent of all the people attempting to maintain a normal sober lifestyle, when utilizing a traditional twelve step program such Alcoholics Anonymous. Studies have also shown that basic life skills counseling for treating alcoholism, has a lifetime recovery rate of between six percent and ten percent. Personally, I’m a fan of the second method. Why? Because this is how I have personally attained over twenty five years of living a normal sober lifestyle. Now if you’re like me, you don’t get all mushy-gushy over studies. I can show you studies that the scientific community has done, two or three times in my lifetime alone, where they have reversed themselves, every twelve years or so. Aspirin is a wonder drug, aspirin is bad, aspirin is good for your heart, and aspirin can save your life if having a heart attack. The truth is – there are elements of truth in all these statements. Do you remember when all cholesterol was bad in the 60’s and 70’s? Today they are saying there’s good cholesterol also. A few years ago, they were interviewing a woman from the south who was celebrating her 127th birthday. When asked what she ate for a diet she replied, “Fatback and blackeyed peas with bread fried in drippings.” When asked how often she ate this she said, “Everyday for about the last fifty years.” The interviewer was speechless. My point is it’s hard to argue with success. To that end, here are some tips for successful recovery:
*Assess where you stand in life and what a particular habit means to you, what it does for you, and what it does to you.
*Set realistic goals for change, based on your personal resources and positive values.
*Strengthen your life at the same time as you strive to change your habit.
*Create environments for yourself and others that make addiction both unnecessary and undesirable.
This kind of personal growth may sound difficult, and sometimes it is. Sometimes it involves hard-won self-awareness and sustained long term effort. At other times, it happens with remarkable ease as the building blocks for a better life fall into place. For most people these life ingredients evolve sooner or later. The longer you’re in recovery, the easier the whole process gets.
Develop a personal relapse prevention plan based on your new found self awareness. You should have a pretty clear idea of what trips your triggers. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you weigh six hundred pounds and you want to lose weight don’t hang out at the bakery. If you want to stay sober, don’t hang out at bars. Don’t BS yourself into thinking you can hang out there and watch a football game and drink ice water. If it’s companionship you seek, invite your friends over to your house to catch the game, no booze allowed. See bullet point number four.
It really is like the instructions on the shampoo bottle: wash, rinse, repeat. When you have a plan that works for you then employ it daily, it will become first nature for you. It’s as easy as falling off a log. Keep this mind set and you can’t help but be successful. If you would like to find other great tips on recovery, be sure to find the author resource box below this article.