1) Addiction is not a choice. It is a brain disorder/disease. You are not a bad or immoral person, if you struggle with addictive behaviour. Addiction is a disease of the brain, like asthma is a disease of the lungs. If you are struggling with addiction, you should never feel ashamed about your innate addictive behaviours. Rather, you should focus on parts of the addiction you can control. Like all disorders and diseases it requires ongoing care and treatment.
2) There is no set “cure” for addiction. Taking steps towards recovery, such as attending rehab is not the be all, end all cure. Being in recovery is hard work, and treatments for addiction provide you with appropriate strategies and tools to help manage your addiction, and set you on path of positivity and hope. Once these strategies are established, it is in your hands (with a consistent support system) to keep on the path of sobriety and overall recovery of your well-being.
3) There is no single path to recovery. There is no one way or strategy to achieve recovery goals. You want to find the best program, strategy and/or treatment that fits your needs and values. When you find the right fit, it increases the chance for a successful outcome in staying sober.
4) Grief will be a part of the recovery process. Addiction recovery can be empowering and a very positive experience, however, be prepared to grieve the loss of your addiction. This is part of the recovery process. Part of making productive and positive changes, is understanding that it is painful to give something up that you were so dependent and connected to, but remind yourself that you are making the wise choice to give it up. Take the time to emotionally and psychologically process this loss.
5) It is okay to ask for help and support from your loved ones. Be open and vulnerable to those that you trust and love. When you have a support system that will be there for you in good times and bad, the recovery process is a lot more manageable.
6) Recognizing your true, inner-self is crucial to recovery. Of course changing one’s lifestyle and environment that has positively reinforced your addiction, is crucial to do; however for all of these changes to continue, you have to recognize your true inner self; the part of you that understands the importance of well-being and happiness. Changing the way you think, perceive and deal with your emotions, thoughts and feelings is what can truly lead to long-term recovery.
7) Forgive yourself. This is a massive part of the recovery process. If you continue to hold resentment and shame from the past, your risk of relapse increases. Remember to be compassionate and loving towards yourself, and know that you are trying your best.