Understanding the Drug Addiction Recovery Process


The recovery process is a long and painful journey from dependence on drugs to a drug free healthy lifestyle. It is the process for making intrapersonal and interpersonal changes. It is the time for healing the damage caused by addiction by learning new skills and tasks to face the challenges of the drug free life.

The process of recovery begins when the addict sees that he can go no further accepting the fact that he is over-powered by drugs and there is actually no safe way of using it. Most of the time his family members and friends intervene to make him realize the fact.

Recovery from addiction is thus a dynamic and progressive process and it could be divided into certain stages on the basis of the developmental growth events experienced by the individual during his recovery journey.

The “Unfreezing Phase”/Ambivalence

This is the phase of emotional awakening when the person suddenly realizes the sorrowful condition of his existence, the things that he has lost, troubles he has caused, the innocent people he has hurt. After many false starts he accepts help, begins to trust a helping person, evaluates experiences and recognizes the damage and distress that drug has caused. He begins to feel hopeful and decides to accept directive help to learn to live without drugs.

The “Reshaping Phase”/Commitment

The recovering addict learns to live without drugs. Slowly he becomes adapted to the new routines of life and at the same time he develops better self-control and self-respect. He also develops an alliance with other recovering peers and practices the recovery skills together with them. The stronger the bondage the better the chances of recovery.

The “Refreezing Phase”/Integration
This is the final stage in which he makes progress in all aspects of life. The process of assimilation and validation occurs most naturally. He assumes responsibilities with confidence and adapts to recovery practices in everyday life to reduce drug craving and risk of relapse. He becomes a part of the mainstream community.

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