I am a hard-ass when it comes to recovery and “how” one goes about recovering. For instance, drug-addled escapism, also known as the marijuana maintenance program, or methadone as another, is not recovery. The latter may be the path to future recovery, but it ain’t there yet. As for the pot program, well you’ll have to sell stupid somewhere else.
Choosing to live dry, while usually noble and certainly preferable to the previous options, is almost recovery. Put simply, if “dry as a popcorn fart” describes you, in recovery we typically try to aim higher than “fart”.
Found God? Hey, if it changed your life and you’re free of your addiction, you’re there. Enjoy it.
Found something else that changed you’re life and you’re free? Sweet! Welcome to the party!
Recovery, Twelve Steps or no, is twofold. One: Freedom from mood or mind-altering drugs or alcohol. That’s a period right there. Two: A repairing of the damage caused during use, and the character defects at the root of the addiction. It isn’t rocket science, baby.
I’ll present my why of it all.
Life without drugs and alcohol, for the first several years, is hard, dude. It takes unshakeable honesty, dedication, tenacity, discipline, and an @$$-ton of want to. It takes a complete change of lifestyle and new friends (I cut off association with every friend I had, and it was absolutely necessary). It requires a cleansing of the soul and a desire to be “better”, for lack of a better word.
Skimp on any of that, maybe a little cheating here or there, I’ve never seen anyone end up happy like that. Hell, I’ve never heard of anyone ending up happy with half measures.
Imagine making chocolate chip cookies. You make a regular batch, but you only use half the flour and baking soda… but you triple the chocolate chips and throw in an extra egg for good measure.
Oh, you can call the result a chocolate chip cookie but it’ll taste like ass and be mushy as… well… chuckle.
I’ve dealt with uncontrollable anger issues (fixed, now, years ago, one day at a time), depression, anxiety attacks… and that was all after I quit drinking. Without help it would have been too much. With the complete change, I’ve come to know happiness and freedom that I didn’t know was possible. It is incomprehensible happiness.
They call the other side of that coin incomprehensible demoralization, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. And I mean that literally.
Put simply, recovering with all of the right stuff is hard enough as it is. Happiness and freedom from addiction with half of the ingredients is damn-near impossible. Seen it too many times.