Interview with Joseph: 4 Important Things about Recovery

I’ve been recently interviewed by another wonderful website devoted to living the full and free life clean of meth, The Hope and Faith Project. Below is a portion of that rather lengthy interview. Please click on through if you want to read the rest (you may have to scroll down once other interviews are posted). By the way, CMALA was better than ever this year. I hope some of you can come in 2015.

Excerpted from the interview:

Q: What are the most important things that you would like people in recovery to remember?

A: There are four important things to remember:

1.) Remember that you don’t have to do it alone.  Reach out and ask for help.  Even if 12 Step groups are not your thing, go to them just to meet others in recovery like yourself.  You are going to need to cultivate a new group of non-using friends.  Where better to find them than at a meeting of recovering addicts?

2.) Remember that if over a million people have recovered before me, I can too. Don’t listen to the depressing statistics.  You are not a statistic.  You can be the exception to the rule.  You CAN quit.

3.) Remember that, for many, relapse is part of the recovery process.  I hope it’s not for you, but if it is, don’t beat yourself up.  Just get back into recovery as soon as possible and find a supportive system that doesn’t guilt you for your “acute flare-up” of your disease (how a relapse or slip is defined in medical terms).

4.) And, finally, I’d ask that you remember there is a physical, biochemical reason you are addicted.  The medical community considers methamphetamine addiction to be a “chronic disease,” just the same as high blood pressure or asthma.  The difference between crystal addiction and these other diseases is the location of the malfunction.  With addiction, the malfunction is in the brain—so the illness affects feelings and behaviors.  Because of this, those who don’t know any better view addiction as a moral issue, a matter of willpower or character.  But the truth is: addiction is a biological process in a brain that is malfunctioning.  We don’t blame someone with high blood pressure or asthma for the physical malfunction happening in their bodies.  And we certainly don’t shame them for seeking treatment. Why is it different for the meth addict? It shouldn’t be.  So try to remember there is no shame involved with addiction.  It is a physical malfunction.  It is NOT a sign that you are somehow mentally weak or lacking in character.  In my experience, the truth is often just the opposite.  Addicts are some of the strongest people I know and can, when no longer immersed in their addiction, become people of amazing character.