It takes time for a substance use disorder to develop. Therefore, it’s normal for recovery to take time, too. Although your period of withdrawal may run its course within a few days to two weeks, you shouldn’t expect recovery to be just as brief. In fact, recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction cycle is a lifetime learning process. There may be obstacles along the way, but it’s more about the journey than it is the destination once you’re on the right track. In New England, Massachusetts addiction treatment programs at Rockland Recovery can help you better understand and break the cycle of addiction.
Understanding the Addiction Cycle
Many who struggle with addiction first began using drugs or alcohol to mask negative feelings, such as physical or emotional pain or memories of past trauma. They may not have had access to a doctor or couldn’t afford a doctor. Possibly, they were too embarrassed to tell their doctor how they were feeling. In some instances, they may have become dependent upon the very medicine their doctor initially prescribed and then floundered when they could no longer refill it.
Regardless of why someone misuses drugs or alcohol, it’s never with ill intent. Nobody ever decides that this is the day they’re going to cultivate a substance use disorder. Rather, the addiction cycle is a gradual, circular process that keeps the user trapped in the following way:
- Physical or emotional pain causes the client to self-medicate with a chemical substance.
- The client feels brief relief from the initial problem.
- Chemicals wear off, leaving additional negative side effects that make the client feel worse than before.
- The client self-medicates again, using a larger dose this time.
Sadly, this begins the cycle of addiction. Each time the client self-medicates, the body increases its tolerance to the medication. Therefore, to feel that initial response, the client needs more and more of the drug. Soon, the drug becomes the most important thing in the client’s life. It’s more important than family or career, self-respect or relationships. At this point, a substance use disorder that requires addiction treatment has developed.
Understanding the Addiction Recovery Cycle
Addiction recovery is also a cyclical process. Detox is the first stop along the way, and for many, it’s not a one-time event. It’s not unusual for clients to detox, recover, and then relapse. In this situation, it’s necessary to start over again, beginning with detox, and progress through the stages of recovery once again. Some clients are able to detox, recover, and remain sober forever. However, it’s far more likely to experience bumps and potholes along the way. Regardless of how recovery plays out for you, it’s important to remember that you’re special, you’re loved, and your path to recovery is unlike anyone else’s. If you relapse, it’s okay to start over again.
Understanding the Importance of Relapse Prevention
Nobody ever wants to develop a substance use disorder, and nobody wants to experience a relapse during recovery. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life. Relapse does not mean failure. It’s not synonymous with weakness. Most of all, it’s not the end of your sobriety. It’s simply a side road that many people in recovery accidentally go down on the way to their destination. Relapse means you’re lost, not that your journey has ended. It’s possible to simply turn around, get righted again, and continue on your way. Relapse prevention is the compass that can keep you from going the wrong way in your recovery.
Begin Your Recovery Today at Rockland Recovery Centers
When you more fully understand the addiction cycle, you’re setting yourself up for success in recovery. If you’re ready to begin addiction recovery in the New England area, call Rockland Recovery Centers at 855.732.4842, or visit us online for more information on our programs and accommodations.