Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Recovery As a Lifestyle

My favorite story is one entitled “Truth and Falsehood.”  The punchline is, “There you have it. A well-dressed lie
is being chased by the naked truth and it’s been like that ever since.”   One of the well- dressed lies we continue
to chase is that going to treatment, or to rehab is a bit like a trip to the operating room of a hospital.
Upon entering, the addiction is surgically removed and life can go on as before.
WRONG!
Let’s digress for a moment.  When someone goes in for a quadruple bypass, the surgery is often a success.  
The patient is discharged from the hospital and is told to report to the cardiologist in 4 or 6 or 8 weeks.  
The patient arrives for the follow up appointment expecting to be discharged from treatment.
The doctor does, indeed, discharge said patient with words of caution.  “The surgery was a complete success.
Textbook case. Completely healed. Now, if you change your diet, quit smoking, exercise a bit, and reduce the
stress in your life, you will live a long and healthy life.  And if not, then we’ll see you back here…or maybe not….”
Treatment for an addiction, a substance use disorder, or a compulsive behavior can have the exact same scenario.
The client completes treatment and meets with a counselor for aftercare planning and successful discharge.
After all is said and done, the counselor might say something like this: “You did a great job here.  
You could have led many of the group sessions. Now all you have to do is learn to live completely differently than
before. Change the people you hang out with, the places you go, and the things that you do, find some like
minded people for support, and you too, can live a long, healthy life of recovery.
Both maladies can be deadly.  However, the person who dies of heart disease seen as unfortunate,
and it’s oh-so-sad.  The person who relapses, perhaps overdoses and dies, is just someone who never learned,
or never cared.
Recovery is a lifestyle, it is NOT an event.  Recovery does demand that one change the people in one’s life,
the places one goes, and the things one does.  Recovery does demand the support of like-minded people.
Otherwise, it’s just too damn hard – this sober living.  The recovering person does change, and hopefully for the
better. It takes courage, conviction, and support to build a sober life, just like it took a village to raise each and
every one of us.