When treating addiction, all that matter is the results.
Think about it. If you are struggling with addiction, or if a family member is, then the only thing that matters is the outcome. The goal is always long term abstinence, and the return to a “normal life,” (if there is any such thing!).
If someone says that they are “making progress,” but continually end up relapsing, then what good is that? Abstinence is an all-or-nothing proposition. We don’t just want a “helpful experience” that might “lead someone in the right direction”….we want results! Sobriety is what matters, so we should aim for nothing less.
But so often in recovery, we get caught up in the processes, in the day-at-a-time philosophy, or get so enamored with a specific program of recovery, that we fail to keep our eyes on our creative vision; our ultimate goal. It’s the results that matter most.
The creative life in recovery should be an outcome-based journey. It is not just a wishful existence based on some processes that you think might be helpful. We are seeking specific results, the baseline of which should be abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The creative life can grow from there.
Arguably, these are the central ideas to a successful recovery, arranged from most important to least important:
1) The fundamental choice to change – AA would call this “surrender.” Has the addict truly decided to change at the level of their innermost self?
2) Conviction – or level of passion for their new life in recovery. Make-or-break-your-recovery. Are you dedicated to your decision?
3) Vision or Goal for the creative life – What are you going to do now that you don’t drink/use drugs?
4) Processes – that we go through in recovery. The inner workings of how we actually learn to stay clean and become healthier in all areas of our lives (spiritual, physical, emotional, etc.).
5) Support – network in recovery. Helping each other stay clean and sober. Learning from each others experiences.
6) Program – some will follow a structured program of recovery (such as the 12 step program).
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in either the process or the actual program that we lose sight of the overall goal: continuous sobriety.
Look at the list above again and remember the order of importance…..some recovering addicts have it backwards and place a recovery “program” at the top of the list, instead of at the bottom.
When addicts relapse, it’s because of numbers 1 and 2 on that list, not 5 and 6.