Why recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is not just a fad

Posted in: Alcohol, Drugs by John Richmond on 24 April 2013
Tagged with: Delphi Medical

The fourth in our blog series on service concerns about drug and alcohol recovery responds to claims that recovery is a 'fad' which raises false hopes and positions patients to fail. 

Even amongst informed practitioners who understand the language of recovery, there exists a nagging doubt about how realistic the goal of recovery can be. We know that recovery is an inherently personal journey, the experience of which differs greatly for individuals. The most vocal advocates of recovery often appear to miss the distinction between mental illness, physical disability and addiction. Lines do blur here, and it's important to identify what behaviours and process belong to each, so that they may best be addressed within the realm of recovery.

Here we discuss what recovery can really offer:

Recovery is not a fad but a lifelong commitment to one's own health and wellbeing 
Recovery is not a new idea, and its persistence as both an ideal and a practical process shows it is not to be considered an 'of the moment' fad. In our experience elements of recovery, such as good health, freedom from addiction, and a sense of independence, hold universal appeal. These offer meaningful opportunities for reform, as well as ways to improve practice even for those that are most disabled by addiction.

Offering hope and expectation of recovery is not a negative thing
For Delphi Medical, defining goals and raising expectations are integral to the recovery process. How else are we to encourage patients and practitioners alike to keep focused during stressful times, or help them to measure success? In our experience, creating opportunities for individuals to assert power and authority in their own lives is a real and effective tool towards recovery.

Challenging stigmatisation and discrimination is clearly more than a fad
In being patient-led, it's useful to remember that patients don't view better treatments or services as their priority. Their interest is a normal life where they might go to the cinema, buy groceries, or have a part-time job. Recovery encourages services to identify and cultivate those aspects of a person's life that are least damaged and over which they still have control.

Recovery actively negates a status quo which sees addicts as worthless members of society. By adopting an approach that helps people to shed their own view of themselves as worthless addicts, we are further encouraged to view our patients first and foremost as people fighting severe illness.


This series refers to 'A practical Guide to Recovery Orientated Practice' by Davidson et al, published by Oxford University Press 2009. 

Who's Tweeting about this:

Delphi's Dr. John Richmond on why drug and alcohol recovery is not just a fad by @DelphiMedical on 24/04/2013 09:06:05