Rother House Medical Centre
Alcester Road
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 6PP

Heath Lodge Clinic
1357 Warwick Road
West Midlands
B93 9LW

Mobile: 07836 261661


Chris Sharpe is also an associate of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa

Twin Rivers in South Africa


The Recovery Process: by Chris Sharpe

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The Recovery Process by Chris SharpeConsidering counselling or residential rehab!

If you take time to read the first step of the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery programme you can’t help but notice that it mentions the word, powerless. For me as an Addiction Therapist, this is a word which simply equates to a loss of or lack of self-control. The very nature of drugs and alcohol or indeed most behavioural addictions is that they supply the user with a source of instant gratification. This can be borne out by the late Carrie Fisher, who when relating to drug addiction in her confessional novel, ‘Postcards from the Edge,’ wrote, “The trouble with immediate gratification is that it’s not quick enough.” Therefore let us ask, if this suggests that with the recovery process we can also expect a quick fix?

At first sight the process of recovery can seem to be a long drawn out procedure. Most treatment centres recommend at least six to eight weeks in-patient care as a foundation, before recovery proper begins. This also helps to avoid the distressing prospect of relapse. I would also add that at times, insufficient self-control or the need for immediate gratification can be regarded as the root cause of relapse, but I suspect the problem is far more intricate than that. In my opinion, for behavioural or substance abusing addicts new to recovery, relapse is better interpreted as a way of avoiding otherwise overwhelming emotional pain.

For anyone currently thinking about seeking help for their addiction, it’s worth considering that most professionals consider addiction to be an emotional illness. This being the case then lack of self-control more than likely means not having the ability to appropriately restrain the painful emotions and impulses that cause them to drink or to use drugs or misuse time by watching pornography. The complex loss of control can often be accompanied by, or blamed on, the inability to tolerate boredom long enough to concentrate on something positive, such as the recovery process. To complicate matters even further, consider that boredom merely means being left alone with your own feelings; now there’s a painful thought.

Regular counselling sessions or residential treatment should therefore be considered as offering a valuable opportunity for the addict to fully embrace the basics of the recovery process while at the same time minimising the risk of relapse. It must be reiterated here that confident and quality recovery most certainly takes time to achieve. It’s worth noting that the second step of the twelve-step programme starts with the words “Came to believe …” Surely this must mean little more than encouraging the alcoholic, or addict to, ‘enter the process.’ If this be the case then the word process might translate as; ‘a method of allowing the addict time to change and thus positively influence their future.’ AA also promises that the process happens; “… sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.” It says. They {The Promises] will always materialize if we work for them. As with any process, there are stumbling blocks however. When considering counselling or residential rehab, it’s worth noting that the process of change needs to be without the dubious indulgence of egotism or arrogance. If anything, the process of change needs to be about action and willingness. I can assure you, it's far more rewarding to be part of the process by applying the needed action, than to be a cardboard cut-out, sitting on the edge wanting and waiting for people to applaud what little achievements you may have made.

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