We live in an age in which everyone looks for the quick fix, the pill, the relationship, the instant gimmick or technological gadget to make things change right away. This mindset is prevalent in treatment. There are no quick fixes in addiction recovery. Many people think if they Google addiction recovery they’ll find a quicker, easier “cure”. First of all, there’s no cure for addiction. Addiction can be arrested by remaining abstinent, but there’s no magic “cure” that allows an addict to continue drinking/using at some point with no consequences, or to stop with little or no effort.
Many addicts in early remission search for replacements to alcohol/drug use, if, that is, they’re still getting some pleasurable relief from the drug (addicts in the late stage of addiction don’t receive any pleasure from using/drinking, but they’re still driven to continue as if they’ll die without it). The idea of replacement is that if they can find something which stimulates adrenaline, then they’ll not miss the drug, but these gimmicks run their course and the person is back to the choice of making hard, long term changes or slipping back in addiction. New romantic relationships often feel like the answer to a person in early recovery. Maybe a couple meets in treatment or AA and they have a certain chemistry — the adrenaline of a new relationship feels like real change that lead to recovery — they’ll help one another stay straight and will support each other through thick and thin. These relationships don’t usually last. They end badly and one or both often return to active addiction.
People in early recovery have usually avoided dealing with problems in their addiction — the problems build up and everything crashes, they hit a bottom and seek help. When the addict seeking help realizes that “help” is long term and that addiction is a chronic brain disease that requires much effort, time and major changes, they begin to minimize the severity and look for easier, softer ways. So, naturally, a relationship, or a job change, sky diving, switching to a drug you think is “safer”, moving to a new place, etc, all look like better solutions to the problem.
Recovery from addiction is difficult — it takes time and effort. There are no quick fixes in addiction recovery. Research shows that recovery is more successful when treatment is longer and more comprehensive. Short term fixes don’t work long term. Some “treatment” offerings cater to the quick fixes, but at NewDay we don’t lead anyone to believe that recovery will be quick and easy — we tell people the truth — it’s difficult and long term, but it’s infinitely worth it.