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The Recovery Path

By James Heller, Staff Blog Writer

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is participating in Recovery Month 2009, in part, with articles about recovery during the month of September.  Most individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction begin their recovery with alcohol and drug treatment.  So it is our pleasure to help bring awareness to the general public about the benefits of recovery to individuals, their families, and everyone with whom they interact.

Recovery from alcohol dependence or drug addiction is a lifelong journey.  Treatment, and possibly alcohol or drug detox, is only the starting line on the path to recovery.  The road takes many turns, has some speed bumps, and even a few seemingly insurmountable roadblocks.  But for those who persevere, life becomes purposeful and enjoyable, and a return to alcohol or drug use is out of the question.

When entering alcohol and drug rehab, patients are operating with a brain that is impaired.  Even after medical detoxification, when the body is alcohol and drug free, they need training on how to cope with life before entering the “real world” so they don’t relapse.  This is best accomplished in outpatient or residential alcohol and drug treatment along with support group involvement, like a 12 Step program.

Think of an out-of-shape person who wants to run a marathon.  He would not last 1 mile if he just got off the couch and went straight to the starting line.  He will need months of training, every day, as well as a change in his diet and daily routines.  During those months, he will face challenges that will strengthen him for the big day.  When he is ready, he can face the challenge of his life.

If individuals take treatment seriously and are properly motivated, starting a new life in recovery will seem easy.  New coping strategies can be put into practice; much like our marathon runner will use pacing and special breathing techniques in his race.  The early days in recovery are commonly known as the “pink cloud” period because life seems to be problem free.

Maintenance is critical to recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.  The length of time the pink cloud lasts depends on an individual’s commitment to his or her recovery.  Alcoholics and drug addicts in recovery always have the challenge to avoid giving up when faced with difficult situations.  The urge is to say, “What’s the use?”  

In a sense, when people in recovery gather together and discuss their experience, strength, and hope, it replenishes the soul.  The runner relies on others to hand him water to replenish his body because he must focus on running.  People in recovery rely on one another for positive feedback because the mind tends to focus on the negative aspects of life.  In both cases, individuals can avoid giving up the journey with the help of others.  

As the runner advances in the race, new pains will emerge that he has never experienced before.  The same is true in life for recovering individuals, except that they may have experienced the pain before and found a solution in alcohol or drugs.  As the runner perseveres through pain along his journey in a healthy manner, so must those in recovery.  The work done before these pains occur, and having loved ones to help, makes dealing with them much easier.

Every day is an achievement to those in recovery, like every mile to the runner.  Life in recovery requires that every mile of the long journey is approached with joy and gratitude, because the reward is being clean and sober.  Recovery doesn’t mean an easier life; it means that life for alcoholics and drug addicts is worth living and has purpose.

This is where recovery departs from the marathon analogy.  There is no finish line where recovering alcoholics and drug addicts can look back on a job well done.  But it doesn’t matter because those who are truly in recovery enjoy being in the marathon known as life.



Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol and drug treatment to adults and adolescents, and also offers alumni activities and volunteer opportunities.  For more information, please call 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.





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