Three Components of Addiction Recovery


Addiction recovery isn’t just a matter of “kicking the habit” and getting drugs or alcohol out of one’s system. While detoxification is an element of the process, it’s not even close to being the whole story of addiction recovery. If you or someone you love is working through recovery, you’ll want to know more about the total process.

Physical: Getting the drugs or alcohol out of one’s system and cleansing the body, restoring it to a state of normalcy, is an aspect of addiction recovery. It’s a critical first step, and it can be incredibly demanding. The addict is grappling with a host of issues including physical compulsions to return to substance abuse triggered by the addiction. Additionally, the body, which is now accustomed to the drug’s presence, will rebel against its absence in what can be a painful process.

Psychological. Many addicts face psychological addiction in addition to, or place of, physical addiction. Retraining the mind to live without the chemicals can be extremely difficult. Other psychological factors play a role in the process. People are forced to grapple with a range of emotions and thoughts during addiction recovery. While cathartic and a necessary step toward overall well-being, this can be emotionally draining and/or quite difficult for many people to handle. A range of psychological and emotional considerations enter the picture as recovery progresses and one truly realizes the nature of his or her past actions and their repercussions as well as the difficulties that will present themselves in their new drug and alcohol-free life.

Spiritual. This is an often overlooked element of addiction recovery. One’s spiritual life is directly affected by addiction and regaining some sense of spirituality can be an important weapon in the arsenal used to combat relapse. Twelve-step programs are based, in large measure, on the notion of a higher power for a reason. Those who develop and nurture their spiritual side are more likely to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of addiction recovery. While this doesn’t always take the form of traditional religious involvement, those who do involve themselves in some kind of spiritual fellowship may find the road to recovery at least slightly easier than those who do not.

Recovering from an addiction isn’t a simple process. It involves physical, mental and spiritual components. If you don’t understand the impact that an addiction has on all three levels and how they relate to addiction recovery, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the challenge that someone who is newly clean faces.


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