Here is the best drug addiction definition that helps to define your best path in recovery as well:
Addiction is that which you do that keeps you from being your best self.
Sort of a lame definition at a glance but a darn useful one once you make the decision to get clean and sober.
Now this particular definition of addiction is not going to convince anyone to suddenly change their ways and get clean and sober, but guess what? No definition of the word is going to work that little miracle. No, the actual surrender of the addict or the alcoholic is not something that you can manipulate out of them with mere words. Heck, people have their spouse’s leave them, they lose jobs, they wreck their cars, they lose their homes, and they still continue to abuse their drug of choice. No, simply giving them a new way to phrase their addiction is not going to move mountains.
However, the definition does become useful once you decide to get clean and sober. Once you are living in recovery, the idea of “being your best self” becomes extremely important.
They have a saying in traditional recovery circles: “Either you are working on you recovery, or you are working on a relapse.” This is part of what defines your strategy in recovery that you should pursue.
If you are lazy in your recovery they refer to this as complacency. Even if you continue to go to 12 step meetings or make a modest effort in some other ways, you are in danger of slowly sliding back towards your addiction and possible relapse. Lack of growth is the enemy.
So what is the positive spin on that? It is positive growth in recovery. That is the ultimate solution, and the goal that you should push yourself toward.
To be even more specific, holistic growth is the best possible path for long term recovery. Addiction blocks you from being your best self, and recovery is the reclaiming of your best self. The path to achieving your best self is a path of holistic growth.
Now what does “holistic” mean?
It just means that you need to treat your self as a “whole” person. That means that you do not just try to grow spiritually and call it good. That means that you do not just attend AA meetings and call it good. No, holistic growth means treating your whole person in recovery. It means considering all aspects of your life as potential growth outlets for your recovery.
For example, take the person in recovery who continues to eat unhealthy meals, does not exercise, and continues to smoke cigarettes until they die an early death. What does this do to serve others in recovery? What does this do to achieve the person’s “best life” in recovery? Nothing. It is only half the solution. You did not sober up to be miserable and unhealthy.
Good health and happiness go hand in hand. Pushing yourself to grow in a holistic manner is a precursor to good health and to happiness in long term recovery. Sure, you might be healthy and happy without making this conscious effort. But pushing yourself to grow in all of these different ways can only strengthen your recovery, and add to your overall health and happiness as well.
Addiction is defined by negatives. You sacrifice yourself, your health, your time, your spiritual state of mind, your ability to care and to have healthy emotions, and so on. Recovery is about reclaiming all of that stuff and more. You do this through positive growth.
Seek holistic growth and you find a path to wellness and happiness in long term recovery.