The Many Pathways In Recovery

There are new winds blowing comfort and hope across the landscape of Recovery these days… can you feel them?

Have you noticed there are more ways and more open doors leading to healthy recovery from alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. For decades the emphasis was on the latest scientific studies about the substances themselves or specific AOD problems. Next the effort was on researching which methods or treatments worked best. All very valuable research!

But over the last decade the focus has expanded to include a deeper understanding of the human experience called “recovery”! The more we have studied the lives of people who have “found recovery” from addictions of all kinds, the more we see there are indeed, MANY Pathways!

There are different types of recovery: abstinence-based as well as medication assisted recovery. People have an evolving personal recovery identity- usually progressing from negative to neutral to positive. Their identity over time can open them to different life experiences that become integrated into their own recovery such as spiritual practices, personal development, family of origin work, etc.

Some people experience their journey as more of a solo experience and work with just a counselor or a professional recovery coach. Millions of people get better through mutual aid groups or peer support groups, as well as through formal treatment programs.

People often ask how long it takes for someone to recover from abusing alcohol and other drugs. The fact is, research tells us that some people have a sudden transformation or experience a ‘quantum change’ that leads to immediate abstinence. Other people go through incremental stages over a longer period of time. And some people transition through a period of drifting away from a lifestyle of using alcohol or drugs, even at intense levels. Human beings are capable, resourceful, and able to make authentic life choices even in the most unlikely circumstances.

In studying the recovery experience, we know there are different phases that many, many people go through and each stage has its own successes and challenges on the road to stability.

Early- from beginning abstinence up to 18 to 36 months

Middle – 4 to 6 years

Long Term – beyond 4 to 6 years

According to recovery historian William (Bill) White, the positive outcomes for millions of people in recovery fall into these three areas:
Rediscovery or development of:
» an authentic self
» a reconnection or reformulation of family
» a new social contract with community and culture.
This is all good news to encourage you along the way, wherever you are in your journey. Let the new winds of recovery refresh you…!

Your journey will be unique and special to you. In days ahead, we will share more about the many recovery pathways arising in this new season.