The creative theory of recovery states that quitting drugs and alcohol is not enough to sustain long term sobriety.
So you get clean and sober….now what are you going to do with your life?
There is nothing wrong with traditional approaches, such as daily attendance at a 12 step program, or dedicating a large part of your life to religion and a religious community. Both of those approaches are viable, and can be integrated into a larger “program of recovery.”
For example, I have a friend in recovery who got clean and sober about 2 months before I did. He is the most heavily involved person in AA that I know of. In fact, I don’t think you could find a person that is more “into it” than he is. And this is wonderful. He carries a very strong and helpful message to a lot of addicts at a lot of different meetings. He has genuine willingness to sponsor people who come and ask him for help. And through it all, I believe he has kept his ego in check and continues to grow with his own personal development.
Now there is nothing wrong with the path he is on. And I think it makes for an awesome recovery. But it is not for everyone. And that level of involvement is not sustainable for everyone in the program. But if this is your calling–to dedicate your life and your efforts to the AA program–then by all means, go for it. My point here is that this is but one life you can create in recovery. It is but one path that can lead to long term sobriety.
What I’m suggesting is the purposeful creation of a new life for yourself. Active, purposeful living to take the place of addiction.
In my own life, I believe I have found this creative energy, and I’m using it in a couple of different ways. I just graduated from college. I work full time in a treatment center with recovering addicts. And I’m exploring and creating a whole new model of recovery through this website. This is the type of creative energy and momentum that sustains my life in recovery.
Now my friend who has dedicated his life to AA, he has the same type of drive and passion and creative energy in his life, and he is living an awesome recovery because of it. He is living with real purpose, reaching out and helping addicts every day. That’s working the 12 step program as it was intended. I think some people fall into the trap of using AA as group therapy, and they just show up at meetings and whine a bit and manage to stay sober by the skin of their teeth. Those folks are not experiencing the creative life in recovery.
It’s the passion and drive and creative energy that sustains long term recovery. The specific treatment model or program you use is a superficial detail. What are you creating in your life? What are you working towards? What are you building? How are you reaching out to others? Those are the questions that can fuel your success in recovery.