Addiction is treatable, not curable. There is a difference.
Doing what we do and coming from a life of addiction ourselves, we often get asked this question, “is it possible to completely recover from addiction”? or, “Is addiction curable?” or “Does addiction never go away?” The answers to these questions are lengthy and varied, and the answers are yes and no.
It is possible to completely recover from addiction.
Addiction is entirely treatable, but not curable. It never goes away entirely, meaning if an alcoholic or addict (one in the same) was to have a substantial amount of clean and sober (also one in the same) time and then decide to pick up a substance again; they would find themselves back in the cycle of addiction.
That being said, once the cycle is broken an addict can live a wonderful life, provided they maintain a spiritually, mentally and physically fit lifestyle. It does take work, but so does living a life of addiction. Everyone recovers differently but once the initial process has started, be it through an Intervention, treatment, recovery coaching, 12 step programs or other abstinence based recovery methods, there are many ways to maintain recovery. Keeping in mind, recovery can always be managed, but triggers will present themselves at times when the addict may least expect it.
What are Triggers for Addicts?
It is important to realize that life will “life us” and there will be ups and downs. Recognizing and getting a handle on triggers is a very important part of recovery and working towards the solution. Triggers can include any of the following (physical and mental)
- State of mental health: anxiety/depression – feeling anxious or depressed or just not completely content, can send an addict back to what was their solution for most likely years: drinking or using.
- Any kind of negative emotions, with stress being the big one. Feelings are very difficult for addicts to learn how to handle and it doesn’t happen overnight. For years, feelings were drowned at the bottom of a bottle or other substances and now the addict will have to change their behaviors and try some of the new methods listed below.
- HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (and sometimes we put an “S” on the end for “Stressed”. For us addicts a lot of times it can come back to the basics, which is where we HALT or STOP and access where we are at.
- Low self-esteem or not feeling good enough. Many addicts never had any self-esteem or self-worth to begin with and when they found a mind altering substance they felt invincible and could be someone they thought was better than who they really were. The substances wear of, the shame builds of the actions that took place in the drunk or high state and so repeats a cycle of addiction.
- Socializing with people or addicts that used to be part of the person’s circle when they were in active addiction. They say “hang out at a barber shop long enough and you’ll end up with a haircut”. That is the reality for addicts. We have to change everything and everyone and surround ourselves with people living a substance free, honesty, lifestyle.
- Certain places – such as bars, houses, areas where the individual used to drink or use
- Memories – this can be past traumas or maybe even times the addict had fun drinking or using. Our mind can play tricks on us and tell us we don’t have a disease anymore and it will be different this time.
Some Ways to Maintain Recovery
Medical Monitoring is a great tool for accountability when an addict is newly in recovery. It also really helps for those individuals going back to a workplace where they need to be accountable for their sobriety.
12 Step Programs
Many people remain clean and sober by working a spiritual program through any of the 12 step programs, with the most common being Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but there are many others.
Finding an outlet, be it boxing, running, weight lifting, biking or any kind of physical exercise you choose can be very beneficial to recovery. It releases energy and can help regulate emotions.
Meditation and Yoga
Both meditation and yoga are mind calming and coming from a mind that it is in constant chaos, this can be a wonderful release.
Counselling and/or Therapy
Counselling and/or therapy is very useful way to work through past traumas, which is where a lot of addiction issues stem from. There are a variety of different methods and there are specific drug and alcohol counsellors.
The long winded answer is addiction is not curable, but it is treatable. West Coast Intervention can help! contact us directly!