Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Recovery

I was told early, in my alcoholism recovery, that recovery was a gift from my higher power, an unwarranted unconditional gift of love and that all I had to do to keep it was embrace it and give it away. I soon learned that the more I gave it away the more I had.

I also learned, after much pain, that recovery was not only about not drinking or drugging, but rather, a process by which I learned to change those things in my life and in me that could lead me back to active use of substances.

The process is an ongoing journey that brings with it joy and happiness as well as allowing me to experience the pain of growth. It is a two edged sword that in time we learn to embrace with caution over time.

Recovery is 3 fold: Physical, emotional and spiritual. The physical recovery begins when we stop using substances and begin to allow our body to heal. That healing may include hospitalization for detox and stabilization. In other cases, we may sweat it out cold turkey at home or with another friend in recovery. But, physical recovery doesn’t stop after our system is substance free. We need to continue to take care of it by proper nutrition and plenty of rest. For those folks familiar with the saying HALT (don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired), this is about the Hungry and Tired part of that equation.

The emotional part of recovery is ongoing and is more intense at different stages. This is when we learn to deal with life on life’s terms, and begin to experience feelings that we buried for a long time or thought we would never experience. Some of these include fear, self-doubt, insecurity, guilt, remorse, shame, love, compassion, overwhelmed, happy, sad, angry, loss, lonely, belonging, etc. and the list goes on. Feelings are not facts; they are based on our perceptions, old beliefs and life experiences. Therefore, in the recovery process we learn to embrace these feelings and put them in proper perspective in our lives. We no longer have to fear the feelings but rather face them and move on. This part of the recovery process deals with the Angry and Lonely part of HALT.

The third part of the recovery process deals with the spiritual. Spiritual is not just about embracing a God of our understanding, or for some folks a return to or a new beginning in a structured religion. It is about who we are, our sense of values and self-respect. It’s about balance in our lives and love in our hearts. It’s about being a good person who is sick working on getting well. It’s about self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others. It’s about peace of mind and calmness inside that is felt by others. You may be able to tell when someone is in recovery because you can see it, hear it and feel it. There is a life and joy that cannot be missed.

That is the gift of recovery in one person’s view. Enjoy it, Embrace it and most of all Share it. The more you share it the more it grows

Related Reading:

The Turmoil of Someone Else's Drinking
The Life Recovery Bible, Personal Size NLT
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book, 4th Edition
The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream
Stop Drinking Start Living!