How can we measure recovery results? I used to work for someone who would regularly remark, “I really don’t care how hard someone is trying, I only care about the results they get me." This may be a good line of thinking when it comes to business performance, but it doesn’t apply to addiction recovery and mental health progress. To be realistic about it, trying hard in recovery doesn’t mean you won’t relapse, or deal with other missteps, but it does usually lead to improvement. See, the recovery results are in progress, even when it's slow.
Recovery Results Measure The Progress
It appears sometimes people get so caught up in the drama of a relapse, or a mental health “episode” they forget to think about the big picture. Take Demi Lovato for example. She had almost six productive sober years when she relapsed. Those recovery results are amazing!! Maybe next time she’ll get 12. I relapsed at 5 years for two weeks. Now, I have six years back. Relapse didn't mean I actually lost those five years of good recovery results. It meant I was getting better at sustaining long term recovery. The first time I tried to get sober at 21 I couldn’t make it a full year. My recovery results were improving. In total I've had eleven years of sobriety, with a two week slip. Those are actually very good recovery results. We should be proud of the progress, not devastated by the setbacks.
Recovery Progress Is Real Even After Relapse
But back to Demi. I don’t know her story that well, but I know she’s publicly talked about self-harm in the past. We hope that’s behind her. The reality is some people with co-occurring disorders deal with a plethora of behavioral problems. In recovery you have to deal with them one at a time. Particularly if you started using young, and kept using through the crucial development years. Using substances covers emotional disturbances, and the underlying causes don’t go away without a lot of time, treatment, support, rewiring, and practice. Practice, practice, practice. Then, more practice. The recovery results are the will to keep practicing.
Demi Lovato Deserves Praise For Her Achievements
Demi made it almost six years. She's been championing addiction and mental health as her cause, creating a platform for it, like no one else. She's been brutally honest about her own struggles and welcomed us into her world to witness to her success, her realities, her bad moments, and hopefully very soon a grand comeback.
Recognize And Acknowledge Recovery Results Are The Progress
I know it’s hard to have compassion when it's not your disease. Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease. No one chooses to have it. Of all the physical diseases, this is the only one which tells people they don't have a disease. Imagine getting over that. Literally, those struggling with Substance Use Disorder (addiction) have to rewire their brains. They have to do it themselves. There's no pill to make the disease go away. For this reason, our struggles are harder. Stigma gets us down because if you don't have this, you can't imagine what it's like. And other people's judgment of your setbacks can set us back further.
For this reason SUD is a disease that requires a lot of compassion. I compare myself in addiction to training a bad dog. It’s when we’re at our absolute worst that we actually require the most love and compassion. It’s totally assbackwards, but often those with SUD are missing love somewhere—for themselves, for others, from others. Finding the compassion helps us all recognize the accomplishment of recovery progress.