The Importance of Courage in Life-Long Recovery

The Importance of Courage in Life-Long Recovery

Many people have the following misconceptions about addiction recovery:

  • Just make up your mind to quit
  • It’s all in your head
  • Addiction is a weakness
  • Substance abuse is a choice
  • I beat the disease, so I can handle one drink
  • I don’t have a problem
  • Rehab is scary

The psychological power of addiction allows it to skew the way your brain works; while the initial choice to get drunk or high may have been a conscious choice, continuing to do so is certainly not a matter of choice once addiction forms. Substance abuse changes neural pathways in the brain that are involved in the formation of memory, habits, impulse control and self-esteem. When addicts commit to the life-long process of recovery, they engage in one of the most challenging, but rewarding processes there is. At times, the process will be painful, confusing and frightening, but a bright future free of drug and alcohol abuse awaits you if you can muster the courage to take the first step.

How Addiction Recovery Works

Addiction is a physical and psychological problem. Drugs and alcohol temporarily relieve the following emotional issues:

  • Self-esteem problems
  • Loneliness
  • Compulsive behaviors (and the shame that accompanies them)
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Boredom

Emotions are much more powerful than most people realize, and addiction functions in the emotional part of the brain. This part of the brain is directly involved with the formation and recollection of memories, the management of feelings (and the ability to control them,) impulse control and risk management. When drugs relieve negative emotions in this part of the brain, the brain craves that relief over and over. Even when someone decides to stop using drugs to cope with pain, his brain will continue craving drugs.

To recover from addiction, people must heal both their minds and bodies. Physical withdrawal symptoms can be miserable, but the symptoms tend to pass in a matter of days; on the other hand, it can take months or even years to overcome the psychological power of the disease—in fact, many aspects of recovery continue throughout the rest of an addict’s life. This deep level of healing requires great courage, as it often involves identifying and treating underlying emotional pain.

Courage plays into the recovery process in the following ways:

  • Acknowledging mistakes of the past that have hurt others
  • Making amends for the hurt you have caused
  • Admitting to yourself and to others that you have a problem for which you need help
  • Uncovering deep hurts that you may have been self-medicating with drugs or alcohol
  • Committing to lifelong changes
  • Remaining closely connected and accountable to sobriety partners or sponsors
  • Helping others on their road to recovery

With courage and help, you can get and stay clean from drug abuse.

Addiction Recovery Requires Courage

Embracing recovery is one of the most courageous acts addicts can undertake. If you’re ready to take control of your life, then call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now. There is no better time to start healing than now, so make the call.