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What is the difference between abstinence and recovery?


Meth
Phobia
What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
I've come across comments about how an addict is just abstaining and NOT really in recovery several times and am beginning to get confused...

This area is becoming grayer and grayer for me...
Isn't abstinence a necessary part of recovery? Or at least isn't that the start of the recovery process? So why isn't abstinence considered recovery?

Any thoughts on this will be much appreciated to help this silly head of mine...thanks!
     Replies...
Loraura Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
Quote:
Isn't abstinence a necessary part of recovery?
I believe you can abstain without doing ANY recovery.

I believe you can begin recovering, while not completely abstinent.

For me, the term "recovery" indicates learning. Learning to cope without drugs. Learning not to need the drugs.

Learning takes time.

Recovery is not the act of dealing with physical withdrawal. It is the act of learning to do SOMETHING ELSE (even if it is to do NOTHING) when our brains tell us that dope would do the trick.

Are we ever completely recovered? Can we ever say "I'm a recovered addict"? I don't know! Maybe. If so, I would think that that means that the person saying it feels 100% confidant that they will not chose to use dope for any reason, and that they have the power and tools within themselves to chose to do SOMETHING ELSE when the possibility of dope as a solution comes to mind.
forget
suzette
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
abstaining = exactly like a diet.

you WANT TO eat cake, but by sheer will power, you don't.
.....you know one piece will lead to 6 pieces.

recovery = development of a new lifestyle.

you give up the idea of cake.
....and instead of sitting around abstaining...you do something positive...like exercise, or making a beautiful
fruit salad...that's very enjoyable and better for you.
....so you don't miss the cake, you enjoy the salad, and
the healthy feeling you get from it.

now , if I could just do it..
.............at least I know what it is.

penelope and danimal are in recovery.

I am abstaining.
....I suck at abstaining, so I moved where it isn't available.

understand?
Meth
Phobia
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
Hmmm....

So Abstinence = running away from dope but still not being able to cope properly without it...and it still haunts and taunts you?

But Recovery = re-programming your brain and changing your lifestyle completely so that you can feel totally comfortable without dope in your life...and you don't even thing about it anymore?

Did I get it right?  
Loraura Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
I'm not sure there is a "right" or "wrong" -- but I agree with you! I'm not sure it's possible to feel completely comfortable ever, or to NEVER think about it again.

But it is possible to know and use tools to make the decision NOT to use easier.
forget
suzette
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
abstinence - is negative.

...you aren't allowed to do it, because it's bad for you.
and everyone will be hurt and angry if you do.

recovery - is positive

...you don't want that for yourself anymore, and try to do something else to improve the quality of your life.
....it's for you. it's not for them.
it makes "them" happy, but recovery is something you do for you that you are completely committed to.

 began by abstaining.

I had 2 choices...actually, I had no choice.

...I was forced to move in with my parents, or be a meth whore.
...the moral conflict I had was decided, I would not sell myself out for speed.

I moved to the island of no speed...

I got better, but I'm still abstaining.
...... now, I could go back and have money to buy it..
because I have a job again.
..................it's not a moral conflict anymore. except is IS.
....I'll loose more of my ability to function normally.
I lost quite a bit last time.

I built a recovery website, to complain that I hate abstaining....to sing the blues..
............ in a choir of other abstainers.
and distract each other from it if only for a moment.

..............its slowly turning into recovery for me.

....now, I want to help hold us all up.
and tell people who just started.... what happens.

make amends to the universe by enlightening the horrified,
unknowing loved ones as to what is going on, and what to expect...
...more than my own mom got from me.
so...
...I'm half abstaining, half recovering.
I got so deep into recovering...
...there's a lot to loose by my returning to the dark.
I yelled I was an addict from the mountain top.
...I told everybody in the world I'm in pain because I'm not using...and I'm in pain when I do.

.....I gotta walk the walk, since I'm a self proclaimed ghoul roo.

I'm not Jim and Tammy baker!
I NOW realize the more you do..
...the more of you you loose, and the harder it is to come back.

I also realize, I won't return to reality...
...or I won't come back to you as well as I am right now.

I'm really unhappy w/o it
....but it could be A LOT worse, and WILL BE open return.

that's recovery....I think.
hemet
chic
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
for me, abstaining = relapse

recovery = surrender to my addiction, learn how to work steps...have a sponsor, go to meetings, learn how to understand my "stinkin thinkin"
Meth
Phobia
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
What if ...
There is no possibility of
...meetings
...so no step work
...and no sponsor?

Is recovery then still possible?

And how does one really move from abstinence to the next stage that is called recovery?
danimal
55
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
Recovery to me is addressing the dysfunctions that addiction has caused, but more importantly... addressing the dysfunctions that preceded it.
Until we figure out how/why on Earth we became meth addicts, the odds are we will return to addiction
of one form or another.
For most of us a LOT of emotional pain and assorted baggage precedes meth addiction, so why not take steps to get it un-stuffed, sorted out, healed, and do away with any notions to self medicate and destroy ourselves in the process?
We're masters of self deception and self betrayal, and the sooner we realize it, the sooner we can begin to heal it.
Most, if not all of us embody pain that we aren't consciously aware of, recovery gives us an opportunity to revisit this pain and pull it up by the roots.
It took me a LONG time to admit that maybe there was some lingering pain I had been stuffing all my life, like all the way back to my diaper days.
Yes, even this big, tough macho fool had pain, and a lot of tears to go with it. 230# of stark raving fear and pain!
Meth is crystallized denial, and it tricks us into thinking things are OK when they are in fact...far from it, hence the downward spiral continues.
Take away the meth and there we are, in serious disrepair and hurting like never before.
We are VERY resistant to recovery as it involves removing the bandages of self medication, tearing down the facades that surround us, and pulling the mask off of who we really are. A daunting, frightening, and VERY painful process, but a process that IMO is essential if we ever hope to *stay* un-addicted/un-medicated.
Nearly two years at this forum has made it very clear that those who pursue a *daily* pro-active path of recovery are the ones who find that elusive peace, serenity, self acceptance/forgiveness and freedom from addiction.
By the same token, most of those who merely abstain seem to suffer miserably and, once again, find themselves back on the treadmill. 
Loraura Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
Quote:
There is no possibility of
...meetings
...so no step work
...and no sponsor?

There are online email loops, online chat meetings and online sponsors as well as online literature.

Why would there be NO possibility? I can understand how some situations would make it more challenging, but not completely impossible.

If you think there is an impossible situation, I'd be happy to help try to find a work around solution!

hemet
chic
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
my friend, those "what if" could be called excuses...I have made many....

as loraura said...online support, NA locator, read your local newspaper...usually they post support group...call your churches. a lot of meetings are held there...
Sfj Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
Abstaining ain't like no diet. (sorry to disagree with Suz) (and also pardon the double negs if there are any grammar police lurking)

Abstaining is more like fasting.

People in prison or jail can abstain, and still be hell bent for getting loaded at the first opportunity.

Recovery is a process of changing one's methods and process of thinking.

My sponsor often tells me, "You can't work on the outside if you want to change the inside."
danimal
55
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
The NA Step Working Guide would be a great help, as would the Sponsorship Handbook. Go to NA.org.
S.M.A.R.T. recovery and Rational Recovery are also great non-"spiritual" choices that offer do-it yourself approaches and literature.
IMO a combo of all of them can't be beat!
Literature is where the essence of ANY recovery program is found, placing principals before personalities.
It's all available online, seek and you WILL find...
more than you bargained for.
no more
mething
around
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
Webster defines recover as : v. to regain something which was lost; to be restored to good health.

Webster defines recovery as: n. the POWER to regain something

Webster defines relapse as: v. to revert or fall back to an earlier condition.

Everyone must work their own program , which could even be no program, but soul searching HAS to be done to determine what made you use in the first place. If we weren't in good mental health to begin with, what is being restored?

It takes going back to mental infancy so we don't RELAPSE and restore our previous condition. Pre meth. It is a symptom and I don't believe simply abstaining restores anyone. I never did a 12 step program or rehab. I went to LOTS of counseling.

You might abstain from drugs, but you can't abstain from looking at what goes on in your head.

That's my view on it.

Thanks Danimal, for helping me get to my own bottom of that question !!
Sfj Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
To: no more mething around,

In that case, if your definitions, or Webster's apply, I am no longer going to embrace "recovery."

I don't want to "return" to a previous state or condition. Before I was using meth, I was getting ready to become a meth addict. I don't want to "return" to that position.

Instead of "Recover,"

I'll choose to "discover."

Discover something better and beyond the past wreckage.
hemet
chic
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
for me...I have a lot of wreckage...addiction, sexual abuse...

I have to handle my addiction, get some strength to change my thinking...

get some strong sobriety under my belt...
sponsor. support group

handle my other issues...slowly...without resorting to old ways of dealing with past pain..

for some...they can do it without support...
no more
mething
around
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
Exactly my point.
Self discovery is the most frightening trip to take and God, all that luggage!

What road to take first, where the potholes are, no MapQuest !, no free rides, no 5 star hotels. And the road rage!!!

Just you and that open road. Finding friends along the way that are headed to your neck of the woods.

The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason. Take a peek, but it's more important to look where you are going, where you want to be. Spend too much time looking in the rearview and you will CRASH !!!
danimal
55
Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?
By the same token...the objects in the rearview mirror ARE larger than they appear. Careful you don't get rear-ended!

Meth
Phobia

Re: What is the Difference between Abstinence and Recovery?

Wow, I do seem to understand the difference more now...

But I must say it takes a lot of strength, courage, resolve and commitment to be in active recovery...and the fact that it may be a life long battle for some...although lucky for some it may not have to take a lifetime to emerge a champion.

So for all those in active recovery or seeking recovery, much credit goes to you all!

Nevertheless, it is a process of learning and self-discovery which can't be a bad thing - even for non-addicts.

Thanks for all your input guys...no one ever said recovery is supposed to be a piece of cake right?


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