Many people call the choice to stop drinking and doing drugs “Recovery”. This is a powerful mind-set to get in when quitting. It takes your goal, and turns it from a chore to an active task in healing yourself.
In practice, you can stop eating French Fries for the rest of your life and still not be happy with your body. Just as you can stop drinking alcohol and still be unhappy with your life. It’s not just about the activity of drinking alcohol and doing drugs, it’s about the harm that it causes and changing your life in a way that repairs yourself from top to bottom, inside and out.
In some circles, quitting drinking without working on the rest of yourself is called “white knuckling”. This means that you’re staying sober by holding on so tightly that your knuckles turn white. That’s no way to live your life, so the hope is that in our recovery we fix the things that caused us to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol in the first place.
For some it’s a bad childhood, mental illness, codependency issues, the list really goes on and on. You don’t need to be psychoanalyzed by an expensive doctor, you can come to these realizations yourself, but most people need help. The AA way is to go to meeting, listen to the experiences of others and “work the steps”. Just like physiotherapy rebuilds the muscles in your body after surgery, working a recovery program rebuilds your life so you’re no longer a slave to your addiction.
The old saying about life is that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. No matter where you are in your recovery, it might be helpful to remember that you’re not working towards a finish line. You are working towards a long, happy and fulfilling life free of addiction, and that goal has no finish line in sight!