Recovery from addiction is difficult for many even in the most ideal of circumstances. Having treated thousands of addicts over the course of my career, I have likely seen every form of early recovery experience. I have been witness to those who stop using without another craving in their lifetime to those who struggled daily as part of their experience.
There are well researched and documented components to the recovery process; those having the highest likelihood of success do so with the assistance of a 12-step program, spiritual connectedness, relapse prevention counseling, and inpatient treatment. In undertaking these activities, one can do this in a connected or isolative fashion. It is important to note that isolation does not require the condition of being alone. Those individuals who are internalized and/or introverted have a higher incidence rate of isolative tendencies, and as such have to take additional steps to ensure connected recovery occurs…that’s another article all together.
This month we will examine the individual who is required either from working conditions or lifestyle choice to live in an environment that is isolative in its very design. For these individuals recovery is often more difficult as they often do not have access to the same number or type of resources. Creativity in recovery becomes essential.
In examining the key factors to recovery, we can see there is a difference in what someone in isolative communities needs to do to bolster their recovery goals. 12-Step Recovery groups are a key component to successful recovery; these groups are the number one reason people either are or are not successful with abstinence. In remote communities and/or camps it is often impossible to find a meeting unless there are others present in recovery and they can arrange to have meetings together- I have only seen this occur on a couple of occasions. What most people do is attend meetings when they are back out and in their hometowns. This leads to higher than average levels of angst for the person in recovery, as their meetings are always grouped and often unavailable when needed. A simple solution to this is the use of technology and online meetings. It is not the most ideal, but it is better than the grouping strategy and allows one to attend a meeting when needed. These meetings can be found either via online searches or by connecting with people back home and creating regularly scheduled online meetings when they are away. Spiritual connectedness is a personal (but not necessarily an individual) journey of exploration and integration. For those in early recovery finding and reading a multitude of books in this area can be very helpful. This information can begin to define one’s beliefs, which then can translate into spiritually connected behaviors. Finally, relapse prevention counseling; again, many people seek to partake in this activity when they are back home, which leaves significant blocks of time where they are receiving no support or direction at all. There are many strides being made in the areas of telephonic and video conference counselling and coaching structures. As a means of spacing and accessing relapse prevention services, these avenues may provide the means needed for this to occur. The key with these services is ensuring the competence of those providing this type or level of care; there are design features that need to be attended to for this style of intervention to be effective.
Above all, be creative, stay connected, and try not to group your recovery services for those brief moments that you are back home. For more information, please contact S.A.E. Psychological directly and we will look to assist you.
Remember…”Recovery is a Gift- Not a Given”