Are There Any Conditions on Your Recovery? Would It Ever Be OK For You To Drink or Drug? I am not talking here about necessary and needed medications prescribed by a physician and used as prescribed. I think it important for every individual in recovery from addictive disease to think deeply about, and to honestly answer, this question: If a particular eventuality should come to pass, would it trigger me to pick up a drink or a drug? Some such eventualities that I have encountered in working with recovering individuals include: going to jail. losing my job, my spouse, or partner, death of a loved one, or, being told of a fatal medical condition.

In my view, it matters little why an individualbeginsthe recovery journey; many enter treatment and recovery for the job, significant other, for legal reasons, because of coercion from parents, etc. Being in recovery/treatment allows the individual the opportunity to break through denial and realize that abstinence and recovery are personally needed goals. At some point in recovery, the individual must be on the recovery path for reasons internal to him/her, rather than for external reasons of the type mentioned here. An external condition is likely to be resolved or removed at some point, thereby removing the reason and motivation for abstinence and recovery, resulting in relapse.

Once an individual has internalized abstinence and recovery as vital regardless of the external reasons initially bringing him/her to recovery, and has settled into a relatively stable abstinence based life, the realities of living will continue to happen as they do to all people. The ability to meet the sometimes harsh realities, such as loss of loved ones or devastating medical conditions, without resorting to use of alcohol or other drugs, will depend upon the strength of the individual's recovery program, including experience applying the tools of recovery, a strong relationship with a sponsor (mentor), and the recovery Fellowship, to name a few factors. Perhaps most important for long term recovery in the face of critical life events is a well developed relationship with a source of spiritual strength (God, Higher Power). The goal of the 12 Step Programs is to help the recovering individual to develop such a relationship.

As always, comments are invited.
Jan Edward Williams,, 03/19/2015.


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