When it comes to addiction recovery, there are stories of celebrities entering rehab several times, people undergoing numerous expensive treatments and still regularly relapsing, and people finding their way out of addiction completely without the help of any form of therapy or treatment.
Stories like that beg answers to two questions we have. First: is therapy a huge waste of time and money? And second: is recovery possible completely alone?
Not a Waste
Therapy is not a waste of time, and that’s proven by the successful cases of treatment, the many documented examples of effective drug recovery programs, and the myriad of ways in which we’ve managed to help people struggling with addiction.
Therapy and treatment isn’t just about sitting in a circle drinking detox smoothies and meditating to Buddhist mantras. Treatment comes in many different forms for many different people of all different circumstances. From several dozen types of talk therapy to various types of medication, alternative treatments and more depending on the nature of the addiction, the severity of the case, and other circumstances such as possible mental illnesses.
Solo Recovery Does Work
Yes, it’s possible to go through the process of recovering from an addiction alone. While it’s important to note that only a fraction of drug users become addicts, even among these addicts many give up their addiction after a certain period, without seeking treatment.
But there are also tens of thousands of Americans who die of overdoses, or see their lives wrecked and ruined by their addiction before they find that spark of motivation they need to tackle their addiction alone and manage to do so successfully.
That isn’t to say there aren’t cases where solo drug recovery is the preferred option – it may be because there are no good treatment options available, or because you’ve had bad experiences with treatment in the past and are looking for a way to avoid that in the future, or because all you have access to is a 12 Step program and you’re uncomfortable with the way it handles addiction and sobriety.
Sure, the road to recovery is always going to be a little uneven and uncomfortable. But you should feel that whatever path you chose for recovery is an effective one.
Don’t just wait for your addiction to magically go away. It doesn’t. In cases where people get rid of their own addiction, they do so with self-discipline and self-care, regardless of whether they picked it up from a book or figured it out on their own accord. You must work hard for your recovery, with or without help.
You Can Do It Alone, But You Don’t Have To
There are definite benefits of utilizing a treatment program to find your way back to a drug-free life, such as the ability to relate to and compare with other recovering addicts, help each other and motivate each other to stay sober, and utilize the expertise and wisdom of a therapist to tackle some pertinent emotional and mental issues. There are also definite drawbacks, such as bad group therapy experiences, an inexperienced therapist, problems with the way sobriety is tackled, and ineffective treatment after a misdiagnosis.
The key is to weigh both options before you decide, and then choose whatever you feel most comfortable with or drawn towards. It’s not just about weighing the general pros and cons and the statistical dangers or possibilities.
Company Is Always Involved
Finally, it’s important to realize that any successful recovery journey does incorporate others – no man, or rather, no recovering drug addict is an island. Accountability, responsibility, gratefulness, cooperation, and support – you don’t need to enter group therapy or go to a treatment facility or even take regular family therapy sessions to get out of addiction all on your own, but you need other people in your life and a sense of purpose and belonging within your own little tight-knit community or household if you want your recovery to truly last.
When we hold ourselves accountable and responsible for the safety and well-being of others, the goal to stay clean becomes so much bigger and more important. Anyone with a shred of empathy within them will come to understand that when the stakes are much higher, such as when you are a part of a family that depends on you, then it’s so much easier to maintain your sobriety.
For Others, But Mainly for Yourself
It’s not just about looking towards others as a motivation for keeping sober, of course. The company and joy you get to experience by hanging out with your friends and sharing your new healthy hobbies and habits with your family or significant other produces the kind of experiences you need to counteract the often-depressing journey of drug recovery, especially at first when it’s easy to feel discouraged, or weak, or lacking in willpower and ability.
Don’t withdraw yourself from others and seek out solo recovery just because you feel like you deserve to wrestle your demons alone. The people who care for you and love you want to help you in any way they can, and by letting them, you not only build a safety net around you in the form of emotional support, but you get the added benefit of feeling good about helping someone else feel better.
Regardless of whether you begin your journey in a rehab clinic, therapist’s office or online browsing through self-care and self-help tips, people aside from yourself will always be heavily involved in helping you stay on the path to improvement and continued sobriety, as well as lead you back onto that path during the critical moments after relapse.
You need to think long and hard about what you really want, because that’s the only thing that matters in the end. Recovery is a personal journey, one you must take with your own two feet, and your own mind and soul. What works best for you might not work best for someone else, so it’s important to find your very own path.