Individuals that enter into recovery often think that recovery is an area of their life. As the disease of addiction gets worse and worse over time it becomes a way of life for the addicted individual. By entering into recovery, the individual who has suffered from the disease of drug addiction/alcoholism must find a sufficient substitute for their addiction. Recovery can be that sufficient substitute and can be a way of living that gets infinitely better over time.
Compartmentalizing your life occurs very often among adults, but especially those who are suffering from addiction. Even in the depths of drug addiction and alcoholism individuals will act differently at their homes, occupations, and other affairs. In the early stages of addiction, the alcoholic or addict may just have had fun using and drinking. Unfortunately, this way of life had just begun. This individual who is addicted may start each day with using and drinking or maybe they end their day by using and drinking. No matter what type of substance the individual is using, from the way they ingest the substance to when and where they use the substance, it has become a way of life. If the substance is alcohol, they may have a specific spot they frequently drink at, or they might need to use alcohol before or during any activity. If it is heroin addiction, the individual may have a certain way they prepare the substance before using it. Although this is not a very healthy way of life, it unfortunately is a lifestyle many resort to for compartmentalizing their drug or alcohol habits.
The use of alcohol and drugs is just one element in the way of life an addict or alcoholic lives. As the addiction progresses individuals will try and justify why they should be able to do what they want to do. If an addict or alcoholic wants something from their family, they might try to be kind, considerate, and even helpful to try and get their way. If that doesn’t seem to get them anywhere, they may become mean, egotistical, and even aggressive. No matter the approach the person suffering from addiction has created a way of living based on manipulation, justification, and rationalization.
If we classify addiction as a way of life then recovery must also be a way of life. Getting sober can be difficult and staying sober and active in a recovery program can be even harder. It requires willingness and action to recreate your life. Just like the individual who was in their addiction did whatever was necessary to get the next drink or drug, the individual who is now in recovery must create daily habits and routines. For example, just as the individual who was suffering from addiction may have started their day and ended their day with the use of drugs or alcohol is the same individual who is now sober and in a program of recovery and will need to begin and end their day with recovery. Instead of going to bars or nightclubs, now the individual in recovery will go to meetings and other fellowship opportunities for individuals in recovery. There is a common misconception among addicts that now that they are sober that they cannot have fun. This is not true, but it does mean that they will need to carry with them the attitude of recovery wherever they go. Once they recover they can go anywhere in the world and remain free and sober, never thinking of drinking or using. They will be in a place of neutrality, safe and protected because they made their recovery a way of living.
That’s why Any Length Retreat, which offers men’s residential recovery programs, men’s sober living, and a continuum of aftercare services, creates a culture where recovery becomes a way of living for the guests that get to participate in the Any Length Retreat program. Any Length Retreat, located just north of Austin, Texas is a men’s recovery center that not only teaches men about recovery but creates a daily experience with recovery. Recovery cannot only be talked about, but it also requires a daily application with others.
Remember that your addiction did not become a way of living overnight, and the same applies to recovery. Recovery becoming a way of life will take time. The great news is that if you are willing, honest, and open-minded you can experience life long recovery. Check out what one Any Length Retreat Alumni had to say about his experience in creating a way of life for himself and his wife: What Any Length Retreat Did for me and my Family.