The process of recovering from addiction can be complex and multifaceted, and it may vary depending on the specific substance or behavior involved. You will find that recovery is not a straight or easy road. Parkdale Center’s Christian Gabrano has several years in recovery himself, and he says, “It takes time.” But the benefits of addiction recovery to mind and body are profound. So what can you expect during your recovery?
There are several steps to healing both inside and out once you break the cycle of addiction.
- Detoxification: The first step in recovery from addiction is often detoxification, which involves flushing the body of the addictive substance. This can be done through medically supervised detox programs or through self-detoxification, but it is important to note that withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even dangerous, so it is best to seek professional help. Parkdale Center can help you advise you of your best option, help you find a detoxification facility, or help you manage your withdrawal symptoms if it’s possible to self-detoxify.
- Building new habits: One of the most important aspects of recovery from addiction is building new habits and routines to replace the old ones. This may involve making lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, and mindfulness practices, as well as finding new hobbies or activities to fill the void left by the addiction.
- Physical healing: Once detoxification is complete, the body can begin to heal from the physical damage caused by the addiction. This may involve addressing issues such as liver damage, malnutrition, or other health problems associated with it. This healing is an ongoing process. As Gabrano describes, you may see physical improvements quickly by changing your lifestyle habits with healthy eating and exercise. But he describes other ongoing physical improvements you may not realize you were dealing with while addicted, some subtle. He says you will not miss the hangovers, tremors, sweats or other negative physical effects of substance use. In time your sleep will improve. You will feel more energetic and ready to be more present in your daily life.
- Psychological healing: Addiction can also take a toll on a person’s mental and emotional well-being, so it is important to address these issues as well. Addiction is often a symptom of other mental health struggles, and addressing these issues is crucial to lifelong recovery. A dual-diagnosis substance use treatment center like Parkdale can help you identify and begin to address the underlying issues fueling your addiction. This can be a painful process, but ultimately leads to peace and greater self-compassion. Rigo Garcia, Parkdale Center’s CEO, also in recovery, describes the surprise he felt upon discovering that post-addiction he could “feel everything. All the highs and lows, the happies and the sads.” After numbing one’s emotions with substances, in recovery you have a “hightened appreciation” for life’s ups and downs.
- After treatment, you will want to continue this psychological healing with therapy, support groups, or other forms of counseling to learn new, healthy coping mechanisms and mental habits. It’s important to develop the emotional resilience and confidence to deal with normal, everyday struggles. Counseling will help you do that.
- Continued support: Recovery from addiction is an ongoing process, and it is important to have a support network in place to help stay on track. This may include support groups, therapy, or other forms of counseling, as well as family and friends who can offer encouragement and understanding. Parkdale Center’s Family Programs offer education and support for your family and friends so they can learn how to best support you in recovery while improving their own state of mind as well.
Life improves after addiction. Both Gabrano and Garcia describe the joys of being more present in life and engaged in activities you formerly enjoyed or new hobbies you discover in recovery. You will find more time and energy to spend quality time with family and friends without being impaired by your substance use. Former addicts describe discovering they enjoy their kids’ birthday parties again, being outside in nature, and growing friendships. As Garcia puts it, “The sun feels good on your face. It always did, I just couldn’t feel it.”