There are few tried and true aspects of recovery that can be looked at as “requirements”, but the few that are can’t be messed with. For instance, to be in “recovery”, you can’t used drugs or alcohol. This should be a no-brainer, but sadly it is not. The marijuana maintenance program is not a recovery program. It’s doing drugs instead of drinking. It’s like drinking whiskey in lieu of beer, or beer in lieu of vodka; you may be able to sell that as a recovery program to everyone sitting at the bar with you, maybe even the owner of said bar, but you’re kidding yourself in the end and that lie will hurt. Eventually.
Then there’s the notion that recovery is just “not drinking or doing drugs”. The idea that, “as long as I don’t drink, I’m okay”, is nefarious and responsible for a lot of bad outcomes. Not drinking is not drinking. Not doing drugs is not doing drugs. Both are excellent ideas if you’re an addict or alcoholic, but recovery is a lot more than simple abstinance. Recovery takes work. Recovery is cleaning up the wreckage created during one’s addiction/alcoholism. Recovery is working on one’s life so as not to revert back to those habits and choices we used to exhibit in our addiction.
Think of it this way; we abstain from drugs and alcohol because we have to. Alcohol and drugs are wrecking our life, so we swear away – and maybe that works for a time, possibly even years. Recovery is more, though. Recovery is reversing the damage done. Eventually, in recovery we don’t stay away from drugs and alcohol because we have to. We stay away because our lives are so much better, we no longer want that life.
In recovery, there’s no longer a desire to escape. When you clean up the wreckage and stop creating more, there’s no need to.
Just a thought. Recover hard, my friends. You don’t always get a second chance at the good life.