There is a reason most sober people refer to themselves as “in recovery” from addiction. Addiction is treatable, but not curable. Recovery refers to the lifelong process of healing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually from addiction. However, most people do not ever refer to themselves as “recovered.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for drug addiction usually isn’t a cure…Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.”
The comparison to conditions like heart disease is a good one, because substance use disorders are also chronic. They are considered a chronic brain disease because misuse of substances changes the brain, making it more difficult to stop and imprinting pleasurable memories onto the substance.
Being in recovery from addiction is a bit like being in remission from cancer. In the case of cancer, it could come back, but right now you are cancer-free. In recovery, relapse is possible, but right now you are substance-free.
Recovery is a chance to practice healthy coping skills to deal with stress without substances. This will make you more comfortable facing cravings without picking up a drink or drugs.
Though it can be difficult to come to terms with having a chronic condition, recovery can be a wonderful process of healing. In other words, it can be a gift, not a life sentence.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build happiness in recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.