There comes a point in which you realize there’s just no use in continuing to hurt yourself in this way. It may be a moment of realization when you see the way your children look at you, or a moment when you look at yourself and just ask ‘what happened to me?’ It’s the moment when you decide that addiction is no longer the path you need to follow. In many ways that is a critical moment. For some it will lead to an attempt to end their addiction – which if unsuccessful can lead deeper into a feeling of despair. However, for some it will be the moment you turn your life around and make a new start.
So, what factors make the difference between a successful recovery and painful addiction? The easy answer would be to say commitment. However, it doesn’t really matter how committed you are if you continue to be around the same people, with the same values and the same pattern of behavior.
A successful recovery does not happen by accident. It should be planned and you will need to demonstrate a changed value system. That’s really what the recovery process is all about. You are choosing that some behavior is simply no longer acceptable in your life, and as a result you will no longer tolerate it. To make this work, you are going to have to replace the unacceptable behavior with a series of new behaviors that are compatible with what you want your life to look like.
Of course, if you still believe that hurting people around you is ‘fun’ or in any way good, you are unlikely to have a successful recovery – whatever the recovery method is. If waking up in a strange place with people you don’t remember meeting feels like a positive result, then you’re probably not ready to quit yet.
This is really about changing the belief system. The human body is actually amazingly good at knowing what it needs. The default position is one of good health. Learning to listen to this, and support our own instinctive desire for good health is easier than many people imagine. With the proper guidance you can return to this default position. Before long the belief system becomes one that encourages good health.
Recovering addicts who lapse often report a feeling of massively increased shame about what they are doing. This can lead further into depression if it is not acknowledged and responded to. When we experience feelings of shame it is our deepest instinctive self saying ‘this isn’t what I want to be!’ As we learn to listen to those feelings, and let them guide our actions, we very soon have no desire to hurt ourselves and loose any desire to use toxic narcotics. When one starts to follow our in built ‘emotional compass’, we are listening to our ‘instinctive self’. If we do those things that feel right, they generally are and we move in generally the right direction. If, however, we choose things that make us feel negative, or angry, then we are almost certainly moving in the wrong direction.
This is often more literal than people imagine. The person who occasionally has a few too many drinks is often a ‘Jolly Drunk’. But when you find the ‘Angry Drunk’ you are almost certainly dealing with a habitual drinker and someone who is using alcohol in a dangerously negative manner.
Many successful recoveries can be attributed to ‘a change of mind – I just grew out of it’, or ‘I got a wake-up call’. This is the moment that the belief system changes – a moment we are able to set up and initiate. It’s a moment that has to be surrounded by supporting activity.
Successful recovery depends on the addict adopting a new belief system founded on allowing the body to heal itself and end the use of addictive toxins. A planned approach to this, adopting multiple paths to increasingly good health is usually very successful. So, it’s not just about ending the use of an addictive narcotic. It’s about better nutrition, about drawing social boundaries and living by them, it’s about increasing exercise – and enjoying it! You don’t have to learn to run a marathon, but at least getting some basic physical exercise is hugely important. Most of all it’s about trusting yourself and going with what you instinctively know is right.
What can I do to prepare for recovery?
1. Ask yourself what physical exercise would be easy to introduce to your life. It doesn’t need to be much, but it should be something. For some it will be increasing their existing exercise regime by 15%, for others it will be taking a 20 minute walk every day during their withdrawal period. But it must be something. You should choose an attainable goal and have it in mind as a part of the recovery process. We live in perhaps the most beautiful city in the world - Vancouver. There are lots of scenic places to walk, jog, bike, roller blade, etc. Take advantage to the Vancouver lifestyle.
2. Look closely at your diet. List some of the things you need to remove from it. You don’t need to be a zealot – but you do need to acknowledge that continuing the same actions are likely to end up with the same poor result.
3. Examine the five closest people in your life. Do they exhibit the same behavior you are trying to remove. If so, it may be time to distance yourself from them. Vancouver is a big place with lots of healthy, interesting people . . . find them!
4. List all the people in your life that are associated with the behavior you are getting ready to drop.
5. List any physical ailments, however trivial, that have developed in the year leading up to the decision to end your habit and begin recovery. We’ll be needing that.
6. Set a date to talk to us. Then pick up the phone or email us. As Nike says "Just do it."