The Addiction Recovery Process
Addiction is a chronic brain disease that reshapes the internal functions of the brain. As a result, it has devastating effects on the suffering individual – insatiable physical and psychological cravings, distorted thoughts, emotions and perceptions.
In addiction, the individual is robbed of the ability to experience happiness and any natural pleasant human feelings. Family and friends are also greatly impacted. In short, suffering addicts are reduced to a shell of their former selves.
By Kevin Gormley Executive Director Clinical/Associate Director Medical
Lost and terrified
Frequently, addicts say they never felt quite right from their earliest memories as a child. Feelings of restlessness, irritability, discontent and an inability to live in the present since childhood are often reported. When addiction takes over, these people lose whatever sense of self they may have had. They become lost and terrified.
Many suffering addicts try continuously to stop. They cannot. Quitting cold turkey is next to impossible and also extremely dangerous. People can die from withdrawals. In those rare instances when someone is able to quit on their own, the person remains indescribably miserable. It is not long before they are using again to medicate intensively negative feelings. Not surprisingly, the disease continues to progress and get even worse.
Staying clean and sober
The good news is that addiction can be successfully treated. For this to happen, suffering addicts need the care and attention of trained professionals. Clinical therapists and medical personnel can teach the suffering addict the skills necessary to stay clean, sober, healthy and happy.
People in the depths of addiction feel a continuous sense of impending doom. What little sense of self they may have is extremely negative. Caring and understanding therapists listen and teach skills and tools to combat these urges and obsessions.
Good treatment centers provide support for the person in many ways and understand the need these people have to be heard and understood. Group therapy provides an excellent format for making connections with others struggling with addiction. They learn to share their experience, strength and hope with one another.
As the brain heals, judgment improves
What happens when someone recovers is that their brain has been reprogrammed. And, as the brain heals, the areas responsible for judgment awaken. Therefore, as the person progresses through effective treatment, the brain is simultaneously healing itself. New, healthy neuropathways are created that clear a path for healthier thinking, behavior and much more positive outcomes. The brain recognizes these better outcomes and contrasts it to the devastation of active addiction. Judgment improves, resulting in healthier decisions, actions and overall behavior.
Daily work is critical
Working a recovery program is essential to sustain, hone, and refine the newly reprogramed brain. That said, the addiction and associated pathways to the brain (neuropathways) though greatly diminished, will remain even though the person may not be aware of it.
To keep the disease in remission requires daily work. Most people in healthy recovery look forward to this work as they live lives full of joy, contentment and peace of mind – something they have often never experienced.