Total Recovery: Balancing Head & Heart, Body & Soul in Recovery
 Author:   Jim Parker
Publisher:   Do It Now Foundation

 Publication Date:

  February 1999

 Catalog No:


Chapter 2: Second Things Second

Accept your feelings.
Know your purpose.
Do what needs to be done.

--David K. Reynolds

So you've been off whatever you've been on for days, weeks, or months. Now what do you do?

Good question, because this is where a lot of recovering people get stuck. And this is really what this booklet is all about.

Because the simple fact of the matter is that quitting is the easy part of recovery.

Stop and think about it, and you'll realize how simple it is to get anybody to quit anything. All you have to do is tie them up and lock them in a room. They'll get off whatever they've been on -- at least for as long as you keep them locked up. The trick is keeping them off when the door's open.

It's the same for any recovering person -- because addiction is as complex as each of us, and operates on a lot of different levels simultaneously.

Whatever you were on -- and the specific chemical or combination isn't that important, whether it was heroin or booze, pills, pot, or cocaine -- chemicals affected you the way they affected you through an interplay of factors that are as unique as your thumbprint and as individual as your social security number.

Some factors are physical -- say, a tendency toward low -- blood sugar, for example, or an inherited intolerance for alcohol. Others are psychological -- whether you see yourself as basically competent, for example, or whether you're often anxious or depressed.

Still others are more spiritual or existential in nature, and touch on your personal philosophy of God and experience of yourself.

It gets complicated -- because we are.

And that's why any program of recovery that's going to have any chance of working has to address itself to all the different parts of you.

Because all of you was affected when chemical dependency got its hooks into your body and mind and soul. And until you get serious about getting all of you into the recovery picture, you're likely to keep on having problems.

Not that you won't be able to stay off what you were on. That's possible. But you're not going to be 100 percent you again until you pick up all the pieces of your life, and that involves doing more than just giving up drugs and alcohol.

It's a lot like trying to put out a fire in a single room when an entire building is burning out of control. You might be able to cool things off for a while, but you're not going to keep them that way for long. To do it right, you've got to do it all.

That's why we say the most important step after stopping is to seriously commit yourself to a plan of total recovery, a plan that includes simultaneous work on your body, mind, heart, and soul. Because the simple truth is that until all of you gets involved in recovery, all of you ain't gonna get well.

And as long as any part of you is still messed up, you're potentially all messed up.

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This is one in a series of publications on drugs, behavior, and health from Do It Now Foundation. Check us out online at www.doitnow.org.