Scott Dehorty MSW, LCSW-C

Chronic Pain 360

The First Step in Recovery

National Recovery Month is a good time to raise awareness

Posted Sep 29, 2015

Source: Shutterstock

September is National Recovery Month, a time to raise awareness about addiction, treatment and the path toward healing. While recovery comes in many forms, there are many misconceptions about what it really means.

Some people suffering from addiction view recovery optimistically, as something they are eager to work toward in order to improve their lives. Others view the need for recovery as a result of their own moral failing. They must be brought to their knees before they seek help.

For those of us working to help people struggling with addiction, recovery isn’t a pass/fail proposition. We seek progress and improvement, and encourage our patients and their loved ones to do the same. 

How does someone begin to heal? The first step is to acknowledge that we need to heal. A helpful analogy is car trouble: If there’s something wrong with my car’s engine, I don’t ignore the problem. I also don’t think I can drive the car faster and farther without a breakdown. Instead, I take the vehicle to a professional who can diagnose and repair the issue.

But the stigma of addiction, denial and pride often prevent people from admitting a problem and seeking the help they need. In a way, deciding to actively work toward recovery simply means we have the same pride of ownership in ourselves as we do in the vehicles we drive.

There is no “one size fits all” method to reaching recovery. Addiction requires a holistic, multi-modal approach because the entire person becomes ill. The body, mind and spirit need to recover, not just the body. The more angles from which we can approach the problem, the better are the chances for a positive outcome. After all, we have many miles to go.