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Honesty, open-mindedness, and a willingness to ask for and receive help – these are the keys to a successful recovery. The addict is the only person who can admit they have an addiction. The disease itself will keep you from admitting it. No one wants to be an addict or an alcoholic. No one says, “One day I am going to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, ruin my life, and destroy the lives of all those I care for and who care for me.”

by Charles Robinson, Clinical Director, Clean Recovery Centers


Addiction is a cunning and insidious disease. It is quite possibly the most devastating disease that there is. People in active addiction are like tornadoes ripping and roaring through almost everything they touch. When we are sick, we lose the power of choice. For us, using is life; not using is death. This is what it feels like to the addict. Because of this life/death feeling that comes over us, at times we will do anything to get the next fix. We will lie, steal, cheat, fight, sell ourselves, etc. You may ask, “What kind of person would do these things?” The answer is a sick person. Not a bad person.

Getting well is not overly complex. However, it is not easy. First, there is the physical and mental torture of coming off alcohol and drugs. It is a fact that addicts can die from withdrawal. It is highly recommended that suffering addicts be placed into medical detoxification to get the majority of the substances out of their bodies.

As hard as physical detoxification can be, this is just the beginning. When a person begins treatment, they finally start to face the wreckage that has largely been the result of their addictive use of drugs and/or alcohol. The terror of facing this is almost indescribable. Remember, the addict isn’t a bad person who enjoyed destroying their life, the lives of their parents, children, spouse, etc. The simple fact is that the addict, without help, has little control over what they do when in active addiction. They often cannot remember some or most of what they have done. The horror from this feeling can be so devastating that the addict may consider simply giving up, even planning and/or attempting suicide.

Given the large task at hand for the addict after detoxification it is imperative that he or she receive effective treatment. What determines effective treatment? There are many things to consider. Is the program/facility properly licensed and does it have all the amenities necessary and conducive towards recovery? What is its reputation in the community, professional community, online, etc.? What is the nature of the program? Is the program in line with what has been determined to be the best course of action for the addict? What kind of outcomes is the program experiencing? Does the addict have insurance or financial resources for the treatment? Is a non-profit program the only program the addict can afford? Should the program be more clinically based, faith based, or a balanced mix of both?

Unfortunately there are plenty of programs out there that do not work. The good news is that there are plenty of programs, both for profit and non-profit, that do work. Typically, but not necessarily, these programs may include the following components:

  • Deep clinical work sometimes referred to as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), etc.
  • Belief that there is a power greater than themselves, that they define on their own
  • Belief that they can tap into this power to help them overcome their addiction
  • A realization that their lives are unmanageable
  • An inventory of character defects, resentments held, harms done to others – A desire and plan to remove these defects, resentments, and make amends for past harms
  • Meditation and/or prayer
  • Helping and being of service to others with addiction – the idea that to keep what you have it helps to give it away

There are many paths to recovery. Some programs may contain very different elements than what we have described here. Some addicts get well through very different approaches. It is important for the addicts and their supporters to keep an open mind when discussing and selecting recovery programs.

Whatever treatment options are decided upon, it is essential that the suffering addict have a strong willingness to treat their addiction. Without this willingness and a strong support system, the best treatments will likely not work. Remember, the addict is the only person that can admit they have an addiction.

To learn more about Clean Recovery Centers program, please visit our main website.