The Joy of Recovery

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This article is reprinted from NCADD

Over twenty million people are in recovery from addiction in the United States. This is something to celebrate!

When people give up alcohol and drugs they already have something great to enjoy. Yet, the longer they stay sober the more reasons they will have to feel even better about life.

Recovery opens up a world of opportunity and once people escape an addiction, they are sure to have some exceptional days ahead of them. At first, some may feel that their lives are over. “I’ll never have fun again,” is a thought that crosses the minds of many newcomers as they take their first tentative steps in recovery.

But how wrong they are. Having survived a near-fatal brush with alcohol or drugs, people in recovery often insist on enjoying life.

Staying clean and sober is hard work, and many people have done a lot of damage in their lives — to themselves, to family, to friends, and to the communities in which they live. But recovery offers a way to turn the pain into progress.

Social connections are important in recovery, and throughout the recovery community there are gatherings of all sorts where people in recovery and their family members and friends can relax in a sober social atmosphere and enjoy each other’s company.

In addition, many in recovery — family and friends alike — choose to celebrate by volunteering or getting involved in efforts to carry the message of recovery to the general public in the communities where they live. Recovery-themed walk-a-thons, marches and informational meetings have been held for decades, serving as a recommitment to recovery for some, and a means of reaching out to those still suffering from alcoholism and drug dependence.

Today, people are making substantial progress from active addiction through treatment and recovery, and success rates can be compared with that of other chronic, relapsing conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension.

And treatment for alcoholism and other drug dependence helps beyond just eliminating alcohol and/or drug use. More than half of the people assessed in a recent study reported that treatment had improved their overall health, helped them address their emotional or mental health problems, improved family relationships, and helped them plan for the future.

There is light at the end of the tunnel and America’s attitudes about recovery are changing. According to a study released by SAMHSA, 80% of Americans have positive feelings about prevention and recovery from substance use disorders, believing that treatment works and that people can recover and live productive lives.

This is progress worthy of celebration.

For more information about recovery, The Recovery Carrier by author William White describes the qualities and contributions of people who make recovery infectious to those around them through their openness about their recovery experiences, their quality of life and character, and the compassion they exhibit for those still suffering.