“Internalisation of Change & the Culture of Recovery”
Recovery from addiction is about complete abstinence from all drugs, not about finding a less harmful way of supporting a dysfunctional lifestyle. The culture of recovery is about living consciously and finding a fulfilling and meaningful way of being. It does not necessarily involve seeking external means of achieving a consistent emotional reality.
Living consciously entails developing awareness and insight into the motivations that underlie human behaviours. The individual understands that acting out on negative emotions is unhelpful and becomes aware of the different parts of their own psyche, and the vibrant committee inside their head.
In order for change to happen, the addict needs to understand his or her own freedom to make decisions, and the reasons behind making these decisions. When living consciously, a “space” is created between the stimulus and the behavioural response. It is within this space where the opportunity to do something different often lies.
Fundamental to the culture of recovery is the formation of sound interpersonal relationships of meaning and substance. Trust is rebuilt, and the individual becomes firmly rooted in a different and more positive reality. This stands in sharp contrast to the deceitful and angry addict who keeps people at a distance, giving them the freedom to invest in their relationship with substances of abuse.
The addict is able to enjoy time with family and often experiences a renewed appreciation of people and activities which may have been disregarded in the course of their addiction.
The 12 step program is fundamental to recovery. It encompasses a simple and unthreatening form of spirituality, underpinned by principles such as honesty, open-mindedness, willingness and fellowship. This framework provides a structure that enables people to connect with like-minded addicts in recovery, themselves determined to live life differently. This culture has grown exponentially in South Africa over the last 20 years and now exists on a broad national and international scale.