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Addiction Treatment & Recovery Process

Men Therapy Toronto - Addiction Treatment And Recovery

Addiction Treatment & Recovery Process

It is helpful to try to demystify the addiction treatment and recovery process. This process is not how it works for every man however this is the basic journey that many addicts embark on to create a fundamental change in their lives and to live free of an addiction.

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The ultimate first step is becoming aware and accepting that you have a problem and that the problem is an addiction. In most cases, men are faintly aware of having an addiction. They know that they have over the course of their lives struggled with an addictive behavior but the consequences were never severe enough.

Often men have a stereotypical perception of what it means to be an addict (i.e. unemployed, on the street) and as such don’t believe it is possible for them to be an addict.

However, generally, the pain that comes from the negative consequences of being an addict becomes too great and the man starts to ask himself more difficult questions.

Once the man has become aware and accepted that he may have a problem with an addiction then he usually tries to solve it on his own.

This is an important part of the recovery process because most times men are trying to kick their addiction without having to disrupt their lives too drastically. This approach is more about making tweaks to one’s life.  It usually works for the first little while and then they start to doubt that they ever had an addiction.

Once the doubt creeps in about ever having an addiction then the addictive behaviors roar back.

This is a much deeper level of awareness and acceptance. The consequences of the addictive behavior are becoming more significant and the individual knows that trying to solve the problem on his own has not worked to date. He feels stuck. He no longer wants to live with the addiction but he is not exactly sure what to do to solve it.

At this stage the man has decided and has enlisted the courage to seek external help. It is an extremely courageous step because by doing so the man more deeply accepts that he has a problem with an addiction and that he can’t solve it on his own. It is a fundamental step in the healing and change process.

Recovery from addiction involves a tremendous amount of work. However, the work is not to stop your addictive behaviors but rather to work on all the deep pain that has driven you to the addictive behaviors.

Your focus and attention must be on the internal pain that is causing you to drink, drug, seek sex or porn, and not just try to stop the behaviors as the latter won’t work. Here is a basic framework of the work involved to recover from an addiction.

  • Find a Therapist: the role of working with a therapist is to do the deep work of uncovering any deep pains (i.e. trauma in your past, difficult family history, etc.). This one-on-one work will help you become more aware of why you gravitated toward your addictive behaviors. It will bring awareness to why you have behaved how you have.
  • 12-Step Group: 12-step groups are important tools to recover from addiction because you have access to regular support but more importantly you become part of a community. It is a great place to practice engaging in healthy relationships. It also supports you to look more deeply at your history.
  • Men’s Group: Men’s groups can also play a very pivotal role. These groups are different then 12-step groups as they don’t focus only on your addiction. Once again you will have a chance to focus on your deeper pain, build healthy relationships and be in the community.
  • Spirituality: The 12-step movement is predicated on spirituality or faith. For some, to become sober is to reach for a higher self. A spiritual practice; i.e. church, meditation, playing with your children, playing a sport, walking in the woods, writing, and praying is an important part of your recovery process.

Neuroscience has suggested that an addict’s brain has changed. The role of recovery is to create new networks in the brain that supersede the addictive ones. There is only one way to do this; practice, practice, practice.

Every single time you choose a healthy response where you once chose your addiction is a very big win. You are slowly changing your brain chemistry. Each time you do so you become stronger and the power of the addiction starts to disintegrate.

The joy of recovering from an addiction is indescribable. You will eventually reach a point where you will become repulsed by the addictive behavior because you are no longer the same man. Your entire orientation has changed and now your north star is towards a healthy life filled with intimacy and authenticity.

The challenges of your life will not disappear but your responses to them will. Your addiction does not vanish it just loses power over you with time.

  • You will fulfill your life potential
  • You will live a life of contribution and service
  • You will have deep and loving relationships
  • You will feel happy and serene
  • You will feel truly healthy
  • You will feel worthy
  • You will help create or contribute to a loving family
  • You will feel hopeful about life
  • You will feel loved.