The month of September is known in the addiction recovery community as Recovery Month. Observance of Recovery Month, now in his 25th year, was originally conceived as an American observance of the success of drug and alcohol recovery programmes. However, it has since become a worldwide celebration. The UK participates each year with a Recovery Walk that attracts thousands of former addicts to celebrate their own recovery.
Some question the need for a Recovery Month observance on either side of the Pond. Most of the questioning comes in light of the fact that similar events are used to raise awareness of specific problems. Nevertheless, awareness of drug and alcohol abuse does not require further promotion – we are all well aware of the severity of the problem in modern society.
Having said that, criticising Recovery Month on those grounds is to miss the point. This annual observance is not about raising awareness. It is about reinforcing the idea of recovery in the minds of those who have worked so hard to maintain sobriety. More importantly, it is about doing what we can to ensure sobriety continues.
The Recovery Relapse Cycle
Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction is a very difficult thing to do. In fact, success rates are certainly not as high as we would like them to be. However, that is not because recovery programmes are ineffective. It is because addiction creates a difficult recovery/relapse cycle that takes a lot of self-control to overcome.
To explain this cycle, let us discuss a fictional character by the name of John. As with other addicts, John was hooked on drugs and alcohol for years before entering residential rehab. His rehab programme consisted of a seven-day detox programme followed by 12 weeks of psychotherapeutic treatments. During that time, John learned about the psychological aspects that enabled his addiction to continue for so long. He also learned strategies designed to help him control his thoughts and emotions in the future.
All of that is well and good, but teaching John those things was only half the equation. He eventually had to put the principles into practice once he left recovery. And therein is the weak link in the chain. The recovering addict can only become proficient in life skills through practice, yet the circumstances that provide the practice can also lead to relapse. It is not uncommon for some recovering addicts to need two or three attempts at recovery before getting it right.
Recovery Month helps to reinforce what the recovering addict learns and practices daily. It gives the individual a voice to say, “You know what? I succeeded in remaining sober for this long; I can do it for another year!” If there is one thing we have learned from years of helping recovering addicts, it is that we should not underestimate the power of positive reinforcement.
Start Your Recovery Today
Recovery Month 2014 has almost reached its conclusion. Nevertheless, that does not mean recovery efforts stop as of October 1. No, they continue in the lives of thousands of alcohol and drug abusers throughout the UK. If you are one of those individuals, your recovery can start today – if you are willing.
Addiction Helper wants to assist you in overcoming substance abuse and addiction. We offer free evaluations, advice and treatment referrals through our 24-hour addiction recovery helpline. When you call, you will be able to speak to an experienced counsellor who can provide a listening ear and the sound advice you need. Why wait any longer? Start your recovery right now. Every day you delay is another day you are losing to the damaging effects of drugs or alcohol.