Here are some of the differences between traditional recovery and the creative theory:
Traditional recovery: Figure out what keeps you sober, then keep doing it (such as sponsorship, meeting attendance, etc.)
Creative recovery: Find recovery through personal growth. Push yourself to grow further. Fight complacency.
What got you clean and sober will not keep you clean and sober. Therefore, we must grow and evolve in our recovery. The tactics will change over time. You can’t live in a treatment center forever, right? So you need to do different things at different points in your life in order to maintain sobriety.
The creative theory of recovery has a strategy that calls for a push in personal growth. It also advocates holistic growth in many different areas of your life. Traditional recovery programs seem to only address half of these needs at best, usually with a push for spiritual growth only.
Traditional recovery: Rely on group therapy and meetings for long term support.
Creative recovery: Rely on recovery network in early recovery. Become more self sufficient through holistic living and personal growth.
Used in the proper way, traditional recovery support groups or meetings are not a bad thing….but they can become an unhealthy dependency for some. The rise in self esteem and the pursuit of real growth can replace a need for constant networking and support that we experience in early recovery.
In other words, if you are pushing yourself to grow in recovery and making real progress, then you don’t need daily support groups to maintain sobriety.
Traditional recovery: Focuses only on chemical dependency and addiction during treatment
Creative recovery: Holistic approach that considers the whole person
There are some cases where people put their recovery solution up on such a pedestal that they think it can cure anything and everything, including mental illnesses. This is not only wrong but can become downright dangerous as well.
Addiction is complicated. And it can be further complicated by a whole slew of possible side issues that a person might have, such as mental or physical illnesses. So it makes sense to try to treat the person as a whole.
Too many times I have seen a recovering addict slide into relapse because of their deteriorating physical or mental health that they were failing to properly treat. These issues really can complicate recovery if they are not addressed! So the creative theory seeks a holistic approach that treats the whole person in recovery.
Traditional recovery: Use affirmations to boost self esteem.
Creative recovery: Use real accomplishments and growth to boost self esteem.
Granted, not all recovery programs push the idea of affirmations. Also, affirmations do work for some people, so I would not necessarily discourage the use of them. They can still be very effective at rearranging patterns of negative self-talk that we have built up over the years.
But the creative theory of recovery seeks to go beyond self-talk in building self esteem. The real goal for you in transitioning to holistic living is to create a vision for your life and then achieve it. Rising up to the challenge of a goal, experiencing victories in your life, achieving some accomplishments….these are the things that will build your self esteem for your long term recovery. This is the type of momentum you want to build in order to feel good about yourself over the long haul.
This is why there is a push for personal growth in all areas of your life. More chance for that sense of accomplishment and a genuine increase in self esteem.
Traditional recovery: Solution is spiritual
Creative recovery: Solution is holistic
A narrow vision in recovery leads to stagnation. Most programs focus too narrowly on just the spiritual aspect of recovery, without considering growth and development in other areas. The creative approach seeks to fix that by addressing the recovering addict as a whole person, not just as a spiritual being.