Addiction and Recovery
Addiction is a disease which affects millions of people worldwide from all walks of life. Sufferers often feel hopeless and see no way out, however, abstinence based recovery can offer a new way of living.
The Reality of Addiction
Addiction can affect anyone. It does not discriminate between class, culture or race. It is universal and it causes chaos and stress wherever it goes. It starts off slowly doing the job it is designed to do – blotting out painful and difficult memories and events. But it is cunning, and creeps up and before long the drugs or alcohol are in control. There are many common factors that addicts share but when they need help they share only one thing – a problem that is difficult to beat, where help can make the difference between life and death. Abstinence based recovery offers a chance to escape the cycle, regain your life and take back control.
The reality of addiction is that it can be beaten.
What is Abstinence Based Recovery?
Abstinence based recovery or ABR means learning to live a normal, contented, fulfilled life free from addiction. Abstinence based recovery encourages complete abstinence from alcohol and drugs except where necessary under medical supervision. ABR aspires to attract people to the notion that they can live completely free from mood-altering substances.
A letter from a recovering addict
I knew for a long time that I couldn’t stop using and drinking – many years in fact. I was stuck on trying to figure out where the point of no return was, the 4th drink? The 5th line? Starting after dark? Not using on the days I was drinking and on and on.
My life got desperate and when I told myself I would stop I would drink and use more.
Everybody I know who works a 12 step abstinence program lived through this and no one achieved a workable quota and lived happily, not even close.
It’s what defines addiction, it cannot be controlled.
The vast majority of people can decide to stop when they have to work or when they’ve had too much the night before or when they behaved like idiots, not me…not us.
The point of no return for us is the first drink or the first drug.
When I was first told this by a friend who was in recovery while I was still using I asked “Nothing?” She said, “Yes, nothing.”
“Not even a beer?” I said “Never?” She said “Not today”. I dismissed it as an option, maybe for you but not me. So, I went back to figuring out how to use and drink ‘successfully’ and my life kept getting worse, much worse.
Eventually, when my options ran out I asked for help.
Sobriety, abstinence freed me, very quickly I realised that there might be a life worth living out there. I had tried stopping and swapping with pills and everything, nothing had worked in fact things got worse. When I realised that I didn’t have to live like this I was free and the adventure began for real.
So yes, nothing, not today…not for the last many years.
Message from a family member
How can I get help?
For those who want to try ABR the most effective and successful support is through a connection to the 12 step programs that focus on abstinence from alcohol and narcotics. There are hundreds of thousands of these meetings all over the world every day with millions of alcoholics and addicts living happy and productive lives in this way.
For each one person with an addiction problem at least 5 others are directly affected (Family, Friends, and Colleagues) and there are 12 step programs to support those as well.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, get in touch with AA or NA in your area.
There are also support services for relatives and friends of those struggling with addiction in the form of Al Anon and Nar Anon meetings.