I would like clarify my ideas and write something more on Recovery Management. In a practical sense, Recovery Management is about checking off items on a recovery plan list — nutrition, exercise, support group, relationships, work, etc, right on down the list of areas of concern in recovery — however, recovery is not so cut and dried.
Most addicts die premature deaths from their addiction. It’s the exception to the rule when an alcoholic recovers. It’s the exception to the rule when a heroin addict transforms her life. It’s not that recovery is reserved for the lucky few. I believe any addict can recover, so why do so many not recover? The answer is multifaceted. Addiction is more than situational drug misuse — addiction consumes the addict. Taking the drugs out of an addict’s body is the easy part — long term recovery is hard, although worth the effort, of course. Getting to the place where the addict realizes what he/she has to do to recover and becoming willing to do the hard work to recover is the missing link.
Addiction treatment, unfortunately, is hit and miss. The quality of care in addiction treatment is not consistent. Because addiction treatment access is limited, and because insurance coverage for addiction treatment is limited, and because there is still a social stigma placed on addiction, and because most bright young kids in college never think about making a career in addiction treatment, the results of addiction treatment are worse than they should be. There’s no reason that addiction treatment centers can’t offer consistent, quality care across the nation, but without the proper understanding and knowledge of what’s needed, healthcare professionals and insurance companies will not make the effort. There’s even misunderstanding of addiction among healthcare professionals — many think it’s simply a moral failing and lack of will power.
So, when a person suffering from addiction does seek treatment, there’s no guarantee they’ll receive quality treatment and education. Even when a person receives quality treatment, if the community in which they return after treatment still stigmatizes addiction and lacks the resources to help the recovering addict maintain a Recovery Management Plan, it’s very hard for the recovering person who’s still adjusting to sobriety. Depending on where the person lives, it can be very difficult to recover. If a person lives, say, in a section of a large city where many people use drugs and drink constantly, the temptation is ever-present. If there are no close AA or NA meetings, and if the people of the community have little interest in or knowledge of addiction recovery, then the recovering person is isolated. If this person has no family support, you can see the problem.
Still, such people do recover. Recovery takes an inner psychic change, a deep yearning for change, a spiritual transformation. Not a religious transformation — a spiritual transformation. What I mean by spiritual is simply that deepest part of what makes us human. It’s the part of us that has to do with survival, growth, love, courage, naked honesty, humility, the will to live and thrive. So, while Recovery Management is a practical plan to enhance recovery, recovery begins through that deep psychic change that wants something different and is willing to do what it takes to recover despite the odds — it’s a sincere reaching out to find the support, knowledge, help and spiritual strength that’s needed. Good treatment can help a person get to this point, but there still has to be, at some point, maybe not in the beginning, but at some point, something deep inside the person that wants a better life.