So this thought kept bugging me the other day. It has to do with what recovery is as its basic form. So what is it really? Is it becoming “normal” and being able to handle alcohol or legal drug use? Is it abstinence from these substances completely? Is that what clean and sober means? Does recovery relate to more than just substances? What about other substances like food addiction or even other non-substance addictions like shopping, gambling, or sex addictions? So is that recovery? Recovery from any of these things? And recovery to what end?
These are the thoughts that sometimes bounce around in my head. Most recently though it’s the thought that my “version” of recovery seems inferior to others’ journeys. Here’s what I mean… my personal background was more sexual with a porn addiction. Some might know my story already, but basically porn become invasive in my life that I couldn’t escape from. I was filled with shame and I hid and manipulated to get my “fix” in this fantasy world. I’m so thankful to be set free from this lust addiction, and for me I view recovery as basically abstinence from that skewed behavior. The pull to look at porn has completely left. I’m blessed with an incredible wife and enjoy the blessings of God’s design sexually in marriage. So for me, recovery completely reoriented my thinking and renewed my view of women, my wife, and my own sexuality.
For others in recovery to a substance, recovery basically looks like complete abstinence from that substance. Generally this is total abstinence because any partaking in that drink or drug potentially drags that person back down and even to death itself. I say generally only because there are some out there who say they can operate more as a “normie” after recovery. These are rare and many of us would remain skeptical of that, but at its core recovery is complete reorientation. Most times that’s abstinence, but there are times where this isn’t the case. As mentioned regarding alcohol or drugs, it’s generally abstinence. However a food addiction obviously can’t be abstinence and the same generally goes for sexual addictions. In these cases what is needed is a reorientation of the misaligned views that shaped those skewed struggles.
Back to my posing for recovery. As one who recovered from messed up thinking regarding myself, women, and sex I can sometimes believe the lie that my recovery journey is inferior to someone recovering from alcohol or drugs. They do look different, drastically different. And the blessing for me personally is that I didn’t lose everything or almost die from my addiction. Still this makes me sometimes feel like I’m posing amidst all my recovery friends who barely escaped their hell. But the spiral of feeling completely stuck in shame and confusion with any addictive behavior is at its core a problem demanding recovery.
So I write this for anyone else out there who struggles with feeling like their addiction past is inferior... or for those whose recovery journeys can’t involve total abstinence (food or sex or monetary of some form like shopping/gambling or any other addiction not mentioned here). All of us stand in need of a reorientation deep within somewhere that led to these addictive tendencies. And while Choose RCVRY exists to raise awareness for and proclaim hope over addiction, we don’t limit that focus to just drugs and alcohol. We truly believe God is rising up an army of underdogs to change this world with the hope of recovery.
Let us know how you relate!