There are many appoaches to addiction recovery. Depending on the addiction, the approach is different. Sex and porn adiction are probably treated with much counseling and mindfulness therapy. (Just a guess). Some pain killer (opioid) addiction can be treated with other drugs like suboxone and methadone. There’s the inevitable 12 step programs, the outpatient, partial-hospitalization and inpatient programs. I have no experience with any of these except a short stint with the methadone clinic.
But I do know recovery. I have experienced cravings and set-backs, failures and victories. Jesus took addiction out of my life. And if I could tell you exactly how He did it, I would. I don’t know aside from Him gradually doing a healing work in me. Looking back I would say He needed in me a desire for change and a little bit of obedience. Obedience wasn’t something I readily gave, since I was living the way I wanted and doing what I wanted. Feeding my flesh.
I said all of that to say this. Recovery is hard. No matter what approach your loved one or you yourself are taking. Each day in the beginning stinks. It’s hard. Your mind is in chaos. You’re arguing with yourself over one ciggerette, or one tiny pill. “It’s just one drink to take the edge off. It’s beer not wine. I’m not addicted to beer, just wine.” Yes, the silly things we can tell ourselves to give our flesh what it wants.
As the hours turn into days, life gets harder because all of the daily activities of your life are now done sober. Take the things you did each day that you didn’t like to do. When you did them while you were high, they didn’t seem so bad. You may even have enjoyed them. For me it was: housework, dishes, laundry, and cooking. I would be busy cleaning and cooking away with a false sense of energy and satisfaction. But now that you’re sober, you have responsibilities that have to get done, but the energy and satisfaction are gone.
Many recovering addicts have little strength or gumption to get busy and stay busy. Don’t get me wrong as each one of us are wired different and some may need to dig into work of some sort and push through. This was my husband’s approach. For me it was the opposite, as I needed time to heal and rest. My mind was exhausted from the daily battle going on in my mind and body.
With being on opioids, which for me kept me wired and pepped up, I used them every day. So every part of my life had opioids in it. It’s not easy to go from full throttle to nothing. So if you are helping someone or live with someone who is going through recovery, give them some time to learn to enjoy life again. Try not to put too many expectations on them, but keep them accountable to their responsibilities. You may not see and they may not tell you, but there’s a constant war going on inside. And those moments of cravings and trying to reason using is tough for them.
I remember how the last few years of my addiction I would walk with my head down, not in shame, but in search of a pill I may have dropped here or there. It was a constant thing I did, a ritual, if you will. I also would go through my clothes, pockets and purses searching for the left behind pill. In all those times of searching I would “get lucky” one time and find a baggie of vicodin (my drug of choice) on the the ground in a parking lot. I did take them and thought I won some kind of lottery. Looking back, I cringe at the thought! After becoming clean, I would still visually scan the floors and ground wherever I was going for a good year or two. This shows that the habits formed in the taking of drugs/substances don’t just go away when a person stops the drug.
We must remember these things when helping an addicted loved one. We must remind ourselves that they need our grace and gentle prodding and acceptance. And of course most of all, they need Jesus to walk along beside them, loving and transforming them.