Addiction can bring about a slew of consequences. It’s no wonder that most individuals entering into treatment programs think that substance abuse recovery is going to fix all of their problems. But, more often than not, addiction is just a symbol of underlying mental health issues, behavioral problems, and lifestyle choices. It’s unfair to think that spending some time in treatment is going to fix all of this in a few short weeks. Instead of running head first into recovery as last ditch effort to fix your entire life, you should set some expectations. There are a few things that substance abuse recovery simply cannot be.

Substance Abuse Recovery Cannot be a Secret

It may be easy for some individuals to think that they can get help for an addiction without anyone knowing. Although this sounds like a great way to escape some of the related consequences of addiction, recovery shouldn’t be kept a secret. Secrets are the cousins of lies. Throughout active addiction, lying and keeping secrets become the norm. But, throughout recovery, we are taught that keeping secrets and lying can do only harm. So, instead of keeping recovery a secret, it should be something that is spoken honestly about.

Substance Abuse Recovery Cannot be just about Abstinence

For many, sobriety is simply viewed as stopping the use of drugs or alcohol. But, it’s much more than that. More often than not, addiction is developed in response to underlying issues. Throughout recovery, to gain true healing, these issues need addressing. Also, throughout active addiction, a person can be affected by altered perceptions, self-esteem, and beliefs. By just simply stopping using drugs and alcohol, an individual is missing the addressing of causes and effects of their addiction. So, instead of going into substance abuse recovery thinking that it’s all about stopping the use of drugs, understand that it’s more about reinventing the self entirely.

Substance Abuse Recovery Cannot bring you Shame

Of course, there is a stigma about addiction that keeps people from admitting they need help. And, once they do, these people are susceptible to the labeling of an ex-addict. Or, even a bad person. But, we cannot accept that recovery is something to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s something to be celebrated. Instead of showing weakness, it shows strength, determination, and resilience. You are not your addiction. And, in fact, you are not your recovery. If others wish to label you for your choice to better your own life; let them. But, don’t feel shame in choosing to live a life of recovery.

Substance Abuse Recovery Cannot be the End

You may associate your drinking or drug use with good times. It’s common to be nostalgic about past drug use throughout recovery. But, just because you’re sober, it doesn’t mean your life is over. You can have fun without drinking or using drugs. In fact, you may even find that your life starts anew in recovery. So, instead of being an end, recovery is a new beginning. It’s true that change is hard, but with time, you’ll find that living a life in recovery is the fresh start you needed.

Substance Abuse Recovery Cannot be for Everyone

It’s a shame, but there are some individuals who have tried to live a life of recovery multiple times and have failed every time. The truth is that a life of recovery cannot be for everyone. That’s because it isn’t easy. It takes time, motivation, support, commitment, self-love, and lots and lots of effort. Not only that, it takes looking into the ugliest part of the self and confronting your fears. But, although recovery takes a lot, it gives even more. If you can give it your all, recovery will be greatly beneficial to you. So, before making the commitment to recovery, make sure that you know that it’s going to be hard, but it will undoubtedly be worth it.

Ready to Live a Life of Substance Abuse Recovery?

Are you ready to see how a life of recovery can benefit you? Give us a call at the Discovery Institute to speak confidentially with an addiction specialist at 888-616-7177.


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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