There are a lot of different methods to stay on your road to recovery. But, what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. Some people need to be fully engaged within their communities and active in their recovery journeys, and some people can remain sober by defining their own terms of recovery. The latter is commonly referred to as passive recovery.
Passive recovery is when someone does not follow the conventional ways of approaching recovery (i.e. going to meetings, having a sponsor, following the 12-step programs,...) This approach to recovery is what we will be talking about in the following paragraphs that follow.
What Is The Passive Approach to Recovery?
Passive can be roughly defined as letting things happen as they will, with no resistance. This type of mentality, when applied to someone recovering from a substance abuse disorder, can become an unrealistic way of approaching recovery. The reasons one becomes passive may be that their intentions upon entering treatment were elsewhere. In other words, they did it to please their family, to avoid going to jail, or for various other reasons. People who go into treatment “just because” are not willing to commit to the mental and physicality of a recovery program. This can type of mentality can and almost always does lead to relapse once leaving treatment. If not at first, within the first several months.
What Is the Active Approach To Recovery?
Active recovery is when you are fully engaged with your recovery program. You attend your meetings, you are in constant contact with your sponsor and therapist, you keep close tabs on any old thought patterns or habitual behavior that may lead you down a bad path, and whatever else may help your individual situation when it comes to staying sober. Active recovery is when you fully embrace the recovery lifestyle and philosophy behind it all.
Both passive and active recovery approaches work for different people. But there is a reason why there are such strict rules within AA/NA. It is to keep us (addicts) from wandering off our path (our path of sobriety and recovery). It is all too common for individuals to get out of rehab and actively approach their recoveries. After a while, recovery becomes less important, and things begin to slip backward. This can happen gradually or randomly. Some triggers can set us off, and we can end up in nearly the same situation we found ourselves in before we got treatment in the first place.
The active recovery approach is the better bet for those severely addicted to substances and has little to no control over their usage. The active approach encourages you to create the change that is necessary in your life to help you create the life you want. If you accept that you need this help and are willing to do the work, the active approach will do amazing things for you and those around you.
Passive vs. Active Recovery
Being in passive recovery is not negative if it works for you. If you give up on recovery and don’t follow the steps that have helped so many people before you stay sober, then you are just tempting fate. That is to say; you are giving up on your recovery. However, if being fully engaged in active recovery isn’t for you either, you should find that middle ground that allows you to stay sober, healthy, and connected with loved ones.
If you find yourself or someone you know slopping from active recovery into a more passive-like recovery, contact us, and we can help guide them back onto the right path.
Recovery is a life-long journey, and it is best to get it right the first time (if possible). It can be very difficult to shift from passive recovery to active recovery. Here are some tips on how to do so without overwhelming yourself.
Talk to a professional
Reaching out to your psychologist or finding one to speak with regarding your situation is always preferred over reaching out to a friend or family member. Friends and family are always there for you, but they may lack the expertise that a psych offers. The professional approach to help is geared towards getting you back on your recovery journey.
Don’t dwell on the past.
Staying sober takes work. Your previous life got flipped upside down after you got sober. You not only have to change your approach to life, you have to change your habits, actions, and thoughts and somehow learn how to function as a decent human being. Take it easy; you are not going to get there any faster than anyone else. It takes time to develop habits. As they say, “One day, at a time.”
Go back to that meeting you used to enjoy. Share something with your therapist you’ve been holding back. Tell your family or a close friend that you are struggling. Take little steps that start you back on that right pathway to recovery.
Believe in yourself
One of the hardest things to admit to yourself as an addict is that you are worth it. BUT YOU ARE. You are worth living a life that is full of beauty and love, you are worth living a life worth living.