Any addict or alcoholic who is successfully living a creative life of recovery will tell you that it is more than just quitting the drugs and the booze. Breaking bad habits doesn’t even begin to describe it. Here’s why:
1) Drug addiction and alcoholism go beyond mere “habits” – that’s why they call it a “lifestyle.” Addicts and alcoholics have turned chemical abuse into a way of life. In the beginning, these conditions were “bad habits.” But a line is crossed in the development of the disease and suddenly you have full blown addiction.
Because addiction and alcoholism are so much more than mere habits, the solution demands much more than mere behavior modification. A new lifestyle must be created in order to achieve long term sobriety. Hence, the creative theory of recovery.
2) Holistic approaches tend to produce meaningful, long term sobriety. Most successful stories in recovery all share the common thread of having used overwhelming force in their early recovery, such as living in long term treatment, attending 3 AA meetings each day for the first year, and so on. These stories speak beyond the mere “breaking of bad habits.” Clearly it is necessary to create an entire new life for ourselves.
3) Look at “lessor” addictions, such as cigarette smoking or gambling. The extent to which an addictions infiltrates your lifestyle is the extent to which you need a replacement strategy. For a light cigarette smoker, they might only need to discard the bad habit and move on with their life, without much thought as to how to replace their addiction and create something in it’s place to fill the potential void in their life. Some addictions are more pervasive than that, and so require a more active and creative approach.
If you have a bad habit then simply break it. On the other hand, if you have a problem with living, then you might need an entire program of recovery.
Behavior modification can overcome addiction in the short run, but as far as the rest of your life goes, you’re going to need something “more.” That something more is the creative theory of recovery.
Create purpose and meaning in your life and you can overcome addiction in the long run. If your life is meaningless in recovery and you cannot muster any passion for anything, then guess what will eventually happen? You will miss the passion so much that you will return to your drug of choice. Why? Because it gives you that passion back–at least in the short run. It is the quick fix to boredom and unhappiness.
So your new goal is to maintain abstinence, but then to challenge yourself to actually create a challenging, exciting, and passionate life for yourself. If you don’t do this then you will probably return to the passion that drugs and alcohol once gave you.