Addiction is a lifestyle. Addicts’ lives are spent in bars or getting high with friends. The idea of giving up drugs and alcohol can seem simply impossible. Eventually, most addicts find themselves in a downward spiral as the demands of the addiction result in their arrest, or cause mental and physical health problems. When continued addiction takes on darker prospects, treatment becomes a necessity.
All treatment programs help addicts with the first stage of recovery – becoming clean and sober. But recovery is more than the elimination of drugs and alcohol, it must include a long-term plan for staying sober. Once sober, addicts face substantial emptiness in their lives – a loss of social structure and a loss of self. For more information refer to Substance Abuse Therapies and Treatments.
This emptiness needs to be replaced with something that will keep them from relapsing, something that will encourage them, sustain them, and give them reason to move forward with their lives. For people who have limited life skills and whose drug use is often the result of life traumas, or mental illness, this is a formidable task.
Revisualizing oneself is difficult when one has had limited success, limited education, and few opportunities, but the task of creating a whole new life without drugs or alcohol is the next phase of recovery. This phase is more difficult than breaking drug habits. It’s a long, unwavering challenge.
At this point many addicts turn to a spiritual doctrine and the support of fellow addicts in their treatment programs. They attend daily meetings and turn to each other if they feel themselves falling back. Still, for many others this reactive approach doesn’t deal with the core issue – how to replace their former activities and rebuild better selves and better lives. Fro more information refer to substance abuse recovery centers.
The Creative Theory of Recovery
Many turn to a creative theory of recovery, a positive theory providing additional tools for transitioning. The creative theory of recovery is a proactive, holistic approach that is founded on the idea that addicts need to actively and purposefully create new lives by replacing a passion for their drug of choice with a passion for something else. These creative activities engage recovering addicts’ energies, promote focus, and allow them to experience progress.
A holistic approach leads to growth in many different areas of addicts’ lives. At first, clients slowly start to feel more emotionally balanced, physically healthy, more energetic and positive, attracting better relationships, and feeling more in control.
The synergistic effect of growth in one area affects others. Exercise exerts a strong synergistic effect on the mind and the body. A consistent regimen not only fills time formerly committed to drinking or getting high, it changes brain chemistry. Endorphines generated during exercise counter depression and support creative thinking.
The emphasis of the creative theory is on a strategy of independence through personal growth resulting in a new life, offering the following three core strategies:
The focus on creating a healthier self often helps recovering addicts increase their self-respect. Exercise and healthier lifestyle choices are paramount for improved self-esteem, and often help addicts realize immediate changes in energy and motivation.
A loving approach to self also changes addicts’ attitudes. It allows them to counter thoughts of using drugs with thoughts of protecting and caring for oneself. It opens the door to self-forgiveness and self-appreciation as recovering addicts become more aware of their own thoughts and motivations. Although initially it’s an alien concept to most recovering addicts, caring for the self becomes easier with practice.
Most treatment programs advocate personal growth to counter relapse. The reason is that personal growth helps clients to discover new interests, new ways to fill their time, and helps them direct energy toward creating new lives. These, in turn, help them develop self-esteem. Starting college or signing on for an internship or apprenticeship helps redirect the mind, and is often a springboard for new ideas to improve their lives.
Network with Others in Recovery
People who understand and have experienced the struggles of recovery are important. The connections made through 12-step programs like those offered through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) are probably the easiest to access. The point is to not only get support, but also to give it. The bonds formed at this point are lifelines for everyone.
Action is Essential
Action is the key to recovery. According to Patrick Meringa, recovering addict, substance abuse counselor, and web author of Spiritualriver.com, a website devoted to the creative recovery approach, massive action is required to avoid relapse.
Avoiding passive living is essential. Setting goals, establishing routines, sticking to them, and making sure that one is working toward creating great things requires 100% of an individual’s attention. It’s not something that happens occasionally. The intensity of action must be maintained 24/7 in order to create a better life.