The Problem with Treatment, Recovery, and Transitions

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The Problem with Treatment, Recovery, and Transitions

The problem with treatment and recovery
Why are treatment, recovery, and transitions so difficult? I think it is because they are so complex and complicated. In this post I will look at some ideas to make the complex simple and equip you with a game plan for recovery.
Treatment is a great thing if you are ready for it and you can make the most of it. The grip of addiction must be broken. But there is a common problem with treatment. Entering treatment you assess all sorts of strengths, issues, dynamics, relationships, personality traits, traumas, schema, family issues, mental health conditions, and a large variety of how to deal with them.
It can be an overwhelming experience. Like having a fire hose turned on you. It gives the impression that you have to do something with all this information or else you relapse. You are told to busy yourself with recovery activities. This leads directly to exhaustion and overwhelm. For many people this is happening while they go to work, care for children, and try to save their marriage. It can make you feel like toast; And it creates a crisis: how do you do it all?
Exhaustion, overwhelm, pressure, and crisis overpower many people at this transition. Negotiating this stage is critical to sustainable recovery. The task at hand is to put all the information from treatment into perspective and then to shift your focus to healthy sustainable habits that are meaningful to you.

The Prescription

Coming out of treatment, whether that is inpatient or outpatient, people tend to have a prescriptive game plan. It’s analogous to planning the first offensive drive in football. The main focus is on being busy, structuring your time with recovery activities, and staying vigilant against triggers. But there are a ton of things people are told to do to stay clean and sober and it makes your head spin. Do all this stuff because if you don’t you will relapse. People are told to go to a meeting everyday, get plenty of exercise, eat whole foods to detox and restore the body, read and study to improve the mind, do counseling to clean up your issues, work on relationships, do work that you enjoy, work your program, check your self for vulnerabilities, and stay vigilant against relapse. On top of this the aftermath of active addiction has marriage and family life in a mess. Relationships with loved ones are the most important to get right and require time, attention, and counseling. It’s too much.
If that first drive in football takes you into the end zone then you will feel elation and exhaustion. You put points on the board.  And you are feeling winded. At this point a genuine risk for relapse emerges. You can’t run the same plays again, something has to change. The game is not over. The season has just begun.

A Working Definition of Recovery

How do you define recovery? Most people don’t define recovery.  They just get busy working on the prescription and hoping that they just get past the problems. This leaves something to be desired. A good definition clarifies a vision, sets priorities, and provides focus. It works for your advantage to cut through the overwhelming demands and pressures you feel. A good working definition is functional.
Recovery is building a life you love with purpose and passion.

Putting a Definition to Work

At Leadershop we are all about life application, skills, and tools that work in the real world of daily life. Here are a few questions to help you develop your personal definition of recovery and get help now.

Question #1

Who and what do you love?

Question #2

What gets your interest and excitement?

Question #3

What are you dedicating your life to (purpose)?

Question #4

What is in your life today, that you don’t ever want to lose?

Question #5

How will you act this week to attract more of what you love?

Question #6

What are you dedicated to this week?

Question #7

Of all the things you can busy yourself with, what is your main priority?

Question #8

What do you need to be productive and not just busy?

Question #9

Who is going to go on this journey with you?

Question #10

What reasons are motivating you to build a life you love with purpose and passion?

From Complex to Simple

The prescription for recovery is complicated. However, when you create a working definition of recovery you gain clarity. The clarification from these questions will help you sift through and find your focus. When you are focused you can make more intelligent choices. You can act according to your priorities. And you will know how to  structure your time, what you will commit to, and what you will leave out. Working through this clarification process can help develop a healthy perspective and a game plan.

When you go through transitions you must develop a new structure to support the new things coming into your life. A functional definition makes space for what is to come.

The problem with treatment, recovery, and transitions.

Treatment, recovery, and transitions are difficult because they are complex. At 6-12 weeks it is common to feel overwhelmed and tired. Two indicators that a change in your game plan is needed are; the busyness drained you, and your strategy was too complicated. When your drained from being busy it is an indication that too much is on your plate. You can’t possibly be doing all that stuff with excellence. Creating a working definition can simply your purpose and passion so that you focus on only those most valuable activities.

There are other transitions in recovery and each one has relapse risks. At Leadershop, we find that working with someone to “build a life you love with purpose and passion” is the best way to “win the fight of your life”. Let us know if we can help you.

Author: Todd Davis, PhD, MFT, LADC

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