Addiction has been called “the disease that tells you don’t have it.” This component of denial is what keeps the addict active long after it’s obvious to others that he or she is in trouble, and it is only shown to be a delusion when your recovery starts. The problem is that denial is a persistent negative force that can re-assert itself at any time. It’s the voice that says, “It wasn’t really that bad, I can handle it,” or “This time will be different.”
The question then becomes: How do we keep this voice from popping up, or at least from getting loud enough that we listen and succumb to it? Here are three keys to outpatient alcohol addiction treatment that can help you steer clear of a potential relapse and contribute to building a firm foundation in your drug addiction recovery.
Understand Long-term Recovery Requires Ongoing Maintenance
In recovery, we talk about being “restored to sanity,” sanity in our case meaning that we clearly see that the terrible bottoms we have experienced are and always will be the inevitable consequence of using. And sanity, as recovery from a mental-health problem, is much like recovery from any health problem: if the problem is chronic in nature, then the solution requires ongoing attention.
Think of Alcoholism Addiction Just Like Any Other Disease
There are those who say that relapse is due to “addict thinking,” and there’s some truth to that. But it’s equally true that human nature tends to lean toward complacency once the heat is off. Ask any doctor who has treated diabetics or heart patients and you’ll find that after a health crisis has been handled, the patients are often pretty good about following doctor’s directions—for a while. Then the memory of the crisis fades, the recommendations lose their importance, the diet slips, and the crisis repeats.
Stay Active in the Community (Even After Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment)
Addicts who have long-term recovery are those who want so badly to never repeat the nightmare that they remain vigilant about their recovery on an ongoing, daily basis. They pay attention to the basics, knowing that complacency is a killer. Participation in groups where newcomers attend is crucial, as it serves not only as a constant reminder of what it’s like “out there” but also as an opportunity for service.
Just A Few More Tips
Habits of self-examination, admitting we’re wrong when necessary, and continuing to cultivate something of a spiritual basis for living, will ensure recovery one day at a time for as long as we remain willing. Hopefully a lifetime.