Walking a Common Path to Recovery

No matter what form of addiction you struggle with, you face many of the same challenges all addicts face. So if you personally are addicted to alcohol, someone who is addicted to drugs faces many of the same cravings and temptations. Addiction takes many forms and does not limit itself to substance abuse; you can be addicted to shopping, gambling, food or even sex. Psychology Today defines addiction as a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (such as alcohol, cocaine, or nicotine) or engages in an activity (such as gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use or act becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships or health.[1] With this definition in mind, when an act becomes an irresistible urge that prevents you from doing other things in life, it is very possible you are addicted (or at least participating in addiction-like behavior). The feeling of wanting to do something badly and building up a certain level of tolerance toward the substance or activity is a very common for all addicts. As a result, treatment programs which are straightforward and proven are the best options in recovery. The following are some characteristics you will often see with treatment in your recovery:

There Are No Quick Fixes

Recovery is a life-long process and does not happen overnight. Yes, you will have some periods where you grow more than others, but you do not go to treatment one day and the next day you are completely healthy and no longer have any struggles with addiction. This is a myth and is often exploited by less reputable treatment options that focus only on the short-term. These options will be unproven by research. For example, you may find someone stating if you use a homeopathic treatment option—that is certain natural substance such as syphillinum for alcoholics—your body will heal itself from the addiction.

Treatment Consists of Talk Therapy

Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, has been proven to be very successful when treating addiction. During psychotherapy, you learn about your condition with a therapist. This includes your moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Psychotherapy helps you learn how to take control of your life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills. According to the National Institute of Health, data has shown that psychotherapy is effective in enhancing psychological well-being; however, it is measured by researchers. The patient’s age and diagnosis, the therapist’s training and experience and the duration and mode of therapy bear little relation to the psychotherapy’s outcome. Another form of talk therapy is in a group setting. This is a very useful way to learn from others with addiction by hearing about the successes and challenges of others. This also helps create lasting relationships that can last a lifetime. One of the most common forms seen of group therapy is in Alcoholics Anonymous. As each individual shares stories, hope and encouragement are found.

Healthy Behavior Replaces Unhealthy Behavior

Over time as you move forward in the recovery process, instead of participating in unhealthy behavior, you will find healthy ways to handle the stress of life. No longer is your addiction the way you process your emotions or spend your time when you are bored. One of the best ways is to participate in healthy habits, which over time form routines. These routines then become a way of giving your life much more balance. These can look different for each person at the start, but over time you will often see the importance of physical exercise. This does not mean that those in recovery spend all of their time in the gym. It could be as simple as taking a walk everyday after work as a way to decompress.

Support Is the Foundation of Recovery

Even with healthy routines in place, you still need continual support in recovery. There will be times when you struggle and face urges to participate in your addiction again. You cannot rely on your own power but must lean on others to help you in times of need. A support network consisting of your friends, family, support group and therapist will prove to be invaluable in your long-term health. You must stay in touch with them and communicate openly and honestly with them to be able to benefit from this support. You are not alone in your recovery. If you are struggle with addiction and you know it is time to get help, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline. If you are in recovery but you feeling an urge to do something you know you will regret later, please call for support and encouragement. One of our counselors will be glad to speak with you. Make the call as an important step in your sober life.


[1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction What is Addiction?

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7095766 What Research Says About the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy. Smith, ML.

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