We all might think we know what addiction is and what recovery is for that matter, but unless you have experienced it firsthand, you can’t really know what it means to be an addict or what it feels like to be in recovery. Some of the topics may seem obvious, but some people easily forget or stereotypically assume.
Addiction can happen to anyone:
No one chooses to become an addict. Sometimes a drug is prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition, and overtime a prescription drug can change a person’s brain. And before long, the person sees the drug as needed to get through the day and becomes an addiction. In other situations, the addiction isn’t gradual. Sometimes you try a drug just one time. Maybe they are being passed around at a party and maybe trying it just that one time makes the user enjoy the feeling so much, that it becomes an addiction. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living, how old you are, how rich or poor you are, addiction doesn’t play favorites, it can happen to anyone.
They are still them:
When someone has a cold, they are still the person they always are, just maybe with a cough or the sniffles. It is the same way with those who are addicts. Just because they are now dealing with an addiction, it doesn’t mean that deep down they aren’t the same fun uncle who taught you to ride a bike, the friend who you hit the beach with every Sunday, or the son you watched graduate high school. They are still the same people, drugs or alcohol have just taken over the majority of their lives. Just like the person with the cold, they are sick, and they need your help to get better and be their best self once again.
They need support:
This one should be obvious. You’re studying for a big test, you just became a parent, you’re training for a marathon, you are suffering from an addiction, we all need support in whatever way we can get it. It’s important that the addict is heard, respected, and encouraged. Not just during the first phases of their recovery, but forever.
Rehab isn’t a cure:
This is a big one that a lot of people don’t realize. From movies and television shows, or even flyby success stories, as non-addicts, we assume sobriety is simple. We assume that once you enter a rehab facility and make it past the 30-, 60- or 90-day treatment mark, that the addict will magically be cured. But that’s not true. Rehab is the ideal first step towards recovery, but recovery and then sobriety will take much more time and much more work than a treatment facility can provide.
Don’t bring up the past:
Nothing could feel worse when someone is working hard on themselves to be better, only to have a friend or family member remind them of all their past mistakes. This is no different when it comes to addiction. It’s easy for a family member or friend to remember the hurt they had been caused by the addict and for lack of a better term, rub it in their face. However, in no situation is that helpful, let alone this one. Positivity is needed during this time; they don’t need to be reminded of past mistakes.
Sobriety is different than recovery:
This is another big one that can get confusing, especially to those not dealing with the terms on a daily basis. To put it simply, being in recovery is cutting the addiction out of your life, while sobriety is changing your behaviors and lifestyle, so it stays that way.
Things will change.
As mentioned above, recovery and sobriety are different. And to go from recovery to sobriety, it requires that things change. Addicts will have to find new ways of having fun, new activities, and even new people to hang out with. The things an addict did for fun before sobriety are more than likely, vastly different from the life they are currently trying to live.
This list could include many other things that an addict would like you to know about their life during recovery and in sobriety. It’s important to take into account their point of view. Be positive and stay positive, always.