What People Think Recovery is vs. What it Really is
Before I went to treatment for substance abuse and addiction issues, I had no idea what recovery was about. Now that I’m working a program of recovery, I realize just how ignorant I was about it. I also get a kick out of people’s responses when I tell them that I’m in recovery as well as when I watch TV and movies that incorporate themes dealing with addiction and recovery. There are many aspects to being in recovery and it’s kind of fun to compare what people think recovery is vs. what it really is. Here are some examples.
12 step meetings
Those in recovery understand the importance of attending addiction support group meetings. These meetings are an integral part of the recovery process. But, people who don’t need to attend meetings, whom we affectionately call “normies,” often misunderstand what these meetings are like and often think that they’re some kind of religious revival.
So many people fear the idea of going to rehab, myself included. It seems to evoke images of being chained to beds and tortured. Now that I have gone through treatment at a rehab facility, I consider it the best gift I have ever given myself. And btw, there were no chains.
Before I got clean and sober, my idea of sober people was that of the dry drunk who is totally miserable without his/her drink or drug of choice. Living in recovery, however, is not that at all. In fact, I have never been as happy, joyous, and free as I am now. Being in active addiction is a miserable place to be and I don’t miss it one bit.
I think the term sponsor has people thinking of a Nascar driver with all of those corporate sponsor patches on their jumpsuit. Or else, a little league coach. Sponsorship involves a partnership and relationship between two people who are navigating this whole sobriety thing. A sponsor is kind of like a mentor, who takes you through the steps and is a sober support for you.
Step work is mostly about looking at our experiences and actions. I think the term throws off the rest of society, which tends to think of doing step work as some kind of series of homework assignments, that is, if they’ve even heard of the term.
A typical, sober Friday night to the rest of the world might involve drinking and other forms of debauchery. It seems to be really challenging for people to comprehend going out on a Friday night, having fun, and not drinking. It can be done, folks.
Those of us in recovery keep track of our clean time or sober time. And we like to acknowledge and celebrate our anniversaries. To others, this might seem like an odd thing to do. For us, it’s a chance to see that recovery works and that we do recover.
So many times, I’ve heard the term “Jesus freak” thrown around in reference to the idea of a recovery program. And to be honest, before I got clean, I thought that people who get sober have to ‘get religion’ in order to recover. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Spirituality and religion are two separate concepts that, for some, do overlap – and that’s cool. Speaking of…the coolest thing about working a program of recovery is that this is totally up to the individual.
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