by Joshua Hoe
How strong is your Recovery Team?
Recovery is better when you have a team.
Think of it like this, recovery is, in many ways, about relearning or unpacking the things you have ignored in the past.
Those things you ignore do not really go away.
Instead, they become like nasty ghosts, itching away at your consciousness like a virus until finally you out.
The things you ignore become like strings of timed detonations in your life. You might think they are gone, but they are lingering and waiting to blow up.
So, you need to deal with all of the levels of your problems. You need a recovery team.
Unpacking the Trauma
The first thing you need to unpack is your relationship to trauma. Trauma often is the thing or things that started you down your path to acting out.
Many people in recovery tend to ONLY follow one path. They go to a program, they go to rehab, they start taking Naltrexone or another drug.
But, you need to have levels of support, and for unpacking your trauma, you need a good therapist.
There are plenty of bad therapists out there for sure, but you cannot allow a bad experience to stop you from finding one of the good therapists.
Keep trying different therapists until you find one that makes you both feel safe but also is able to challenge you and get you to reexamine your history.
Therapy can be upsetting, but, you need to create a new relationship to your history. One that helps you move forward on your journey toward a solid program of recovery.
Having A Relapse Plan
I am big believer in cognitive behavioral methods. One of the best tools you can have is having a relapse prevention plan.
Thinking through things in advance might not guarantee that you follow the plan when crisis hits, but it at least starts to create alternative possibilities for your brain.
Many experts believe that reprogramming your neural pathways to new patterns (establishing new habits) can be one of the legs that the table of a solid recovery plan stands on, and, thinking out your options is the first step to giving yourself alternative options.
Plan to succeed by having a plan :).
Building A Recovery Team: A Program of Support
I am also a huge proponent of 12 step methods.
Regardless of which group you join, or which definition of sobriety you embrace, having a program can make all the difference between success or failure in a moment of crisis.
For me, despite being reluctant to share, despite being afraid nobody would accept me, having a program became a critical part of my recovery.
I found out that hearing other people’s stories made me feel less alone in my struggle and I found out that other people really did understand my problems and embrace me.
These things changed my life for the better in immeasurable ways.
Now I go to meetings and I make the call (when I need to).
Creating Different Relationships With Loved Ones and Family Members
Many of my problems were tied up in bad relationships with family and with lovers.
As you get better at:
– confronting your trauma/s
– planning for success
– and giving and receiving support from others
You will start to be able to change your relationships for the better as well.
Many partners and family members, as you become more comfortable sharing your struggle, will get more involved in learning about effective support (Al-Anon or other support groups).
At the end of the day, by engaging in tools of recovery at all of the different levels, you build a recovery team.
It might sound like a lot of work.
But, most of the time, you are using as much or more energy in being miserable and in acting out.
My team has helped make my recovery much stronger and my ability to enjoy my life much easier.
And, that is what recovery is really all about, finding health and happiness!
I do not speak for any particular program or institution, I am only sharing my own tools of recovery in the hopes that I can help others looking for answers. I am not a recovery expert, just a person in recovery.
How have you put your own recovery team together? What tools help you the most? I would love to hear your opinion, leave a comment!