Addiction Recovery is a specialized type of therapy that gently but directly uncovers the issues that brought addiction(s) into one’s life. Specific steps for successful recovery include understanding and managing emotions, improving self-awareness and self-care practices, building a meaningful network of support, and healing trauma. As relapses occur, it requires self-compassion to learn from these mistakes and continually educate oneself to strengthen one’s recovery in order to better cope with future challenges.
The origin of the word “Recovery” means to make whole. As an addict practices the hallmarks of good recovery described above, he/she will discover new things about him/herself. Life will feel more complete and meaningful with each day one progresses in recovery.
I like to compare treating addiction to treating diabetes. When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, it requires professional help to understand this condition and the daily maintenance required to manage diet, blood sugar, and insulin. Similarly, addiction is a serious disease that requires daily management.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine shared the following definition of addiction:
Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
While this definition is thick with jargon and complexity, it details that addiction is a very serious condition in the brain that hijacks reward and memory systems, leads to impairments in judgment, diminishes insight, decreases emotional functioning, negatively impacts interpersonal relationships, and involves relapses and periods of sobriety. Without treatment, it becomes progressive and life-damaging and life-threatening.
If you are an addict or the loved one of an addict, invest the resources and time into recovery. Without recovery, addiction will very likely escalate in frequency and life-damaging consequences. LifeSTAR specializes in sexual addiction. The principles of recovery that LifeSTAR staff use for sex addiction recovery are similar for other addictions as well. We hope you will give us the chance to help you with your important journey of recovery.