TRW Associates

​Is Addiction Recovery Possible?

For you?

It's an important question.

To have a realistic chance in drug or alcohol treatment, we must first believe recovery is not only possible, but plausible.

If we use an analogy to the SMART goal setting process, often used in the world of business, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed.

Let's look at each in turn, relative to addiction rehabilitation.

Is Your Recovery Goal Specific?
If your desired outcome in recovery is not specific, how will you know if you've achieved it or not?

The aim of any aftercare plan, following alcohol or drug addiction treatment, is to make it as easy as possible to follow through on.

If you don't know exactly what you're aiming for, this isn't likely to make it any easier to actually complete.

Get specific and detailed, to help you define goals that you will know you've actually completed.

Chunking down in this way can help many to realize just how much is in any one objective - and just how much they're asking of themselves.

This should include specific elements of day to day practicalities - what will my average day look like, when I'm successfully in recovery?

Be conservative, but specific.

Is Your Recovery Goal Measurable?
For this, consider the 'evidence criteria' - how will you know when you're in recovery? How will you measure this?

Most of us who've started this journey already know that addiction recovery differs from many other goals in life, in that it is an ongoing practice.

In fact, those who say that their recovery is complete, are considered foolish, by many.

However, there will be ways that we can measure, in the environment, and using our senses, that you have begun that journey and moved on from full blown alcoholism or drug addiction.

What will you be seeing, when you're in recovery, that you're not seeing now? Faces at meetings? Your recovery journal? Employers and colleagues? New neighbors?

For where your recovery journey will take you personally, what will you observe, that will be different around you, that tells you, recovery has picked up where addiction rehab treatment left off?

Are Your Recovery Goals Achievable?
Do *you* believe they're achievable? Are they within your reach? Are there others before you, in a similar position, who have achieved this, with the resources you have available?

Measuring your recovery goals against this criteria is an excellent way to take stock of what support you have around you, and if it's not enough, then to put more in place, now, before starting the journey in earnest.

Based on what you've learned in drug or alcohol rehab, based on the insights you've had, as you think about being out there, back in the real world, and dealing with life's daily issues like work, money, family, relationships, living arrangements, do you still feel like your plan is achievable?

If not, make preparations now, to make your addiction recovery easier, down the road.

Is It Realistic?
Biting off more than you can chew, in recovery terms, can be the same as inviting an early relapse.

So be careful to make your addiction recovery goals small enough to be truly achievable, yet big enough to be motivating.

One of the best ways to measure this is by wide peer-review.

If you went through treatment in a​ clinic like, a reputable program will have your aftercare plan peer-reviewed and refined thereafter to something more realistic (and easier to achieve!)

Compare your goals to your current position. Will it take too long to find the right support? Are you overestimating how easy it will be to find the right sponsor? Are you underestimating the triggers you may face, when back in the real world, outside a treatment environment? Be honest.

Are Your Addiction Recovery Goals Timed?
Part-motivation, part keeping you on track, giving yourself a realistic and fitting timeline to achieve your goals can be motivating, and help you benchmark progress points, along the way.

A timescale attached to your plan doesn't have to be hyper-aggressive - no need - and some can find this a turn-off from continual small steps toward goals.

In fact a healthy approach could be to imagine how long your addiction recovery goals may take, at a comfortable pace, then reducing that, by just a fraction, to keep things moving along at a pace.

Again, most will need some way to measure their recovery goals as above. Many AA peers keep a recovery & rehabilitation journal, which not only helps to measure progress at the time, but serves as a useful reminder later on, as to how far you've come, and the progress you've truly made. This can be a huge motivator that propels you further along the path than you'd previously thought possible.

Speak soon,

 - Ed​​​​

Detox .v. Rehab

Which is right for you?

Let's take a look.

Detox-Only Program
Detox-only programs are useful if you recently relapsed, and need the help with the chemical detox to get you back on your feet, and working a program again.

Maybe you've already been in treatment, or have been working a program through a local healthcare provider or counseling diet.

Or maybe this is you first time detoxing, and you feel confident about your recovery prospects going it alone in future.

From a personal perspective I would be careful with this.

One of the key elements of most programs, especially 12-step, is guarding against complacency in recovery.

If you're getting help to detox, but have external support for afterwards, for the mental health and psycho-educational elements, then this may work for you.

But if you don't have support channels lined up in advance, the detox-only route can be (very) tricky.

By going it alone you're counting on being able to:

- Identify triggers and situations you previously associated with alcohol or drug misuse, anticipating them in advance, and having sufficient ways to cope with them either alone or with help
- Making significant progress on understanding why you're in addiction in the first place, and being able to recognize these factors without help, so that you can avoid the same patterns in future
- Get enough support around you for post-detox, and gather those resources on your own.
- Make allowances or changes for your circumstances around you when you complete detox, so that they no longer trigger you.
- Deal with other contextual life-stressors as you go, like family, relationships, work, finances, etc, and being confident to deal with these unassisted.

...I think we can agree that's a big ask(!)

Rehab Program
On the other hand, a rehab program will essentially nurture you through the stages above, and help in locating the supports you need above, throughout the program.

One of the main things we're paying for, when we hire someone or a service, is their expertise.

It is their experience, accumulated over several years, paid training, and real-world insight, upon our issues, that we're paying for.

This can yield tremendous benefits to the insights you make in a clinic, but also the quality of your overall experience.

One insight gained from a professional with a strong history in addiction therapy can pave the way for layers of the problem to peel away for you.

Being able to do that in a secluded, and comfortable setting, and having the head-space to do this on your own, without interruption, is huge.

For most of us, with families, children, and others to look after, life gets in the way (there's no nice way to say it), and recovery can take a back seat in the hubbub of day-to-day life.

The insights you need, and receive, are of course, different for everyone.

Having the care professionals around you, who understand addiction (and in many cases are recovering themselves) can be a God-send.

Not having to explain your story to someone who doesn't "get it" - can be a God-send.

Are all these things essential for you to get better from addiction?


But they make the journey that bit easier.

Speak soon,

 - Ed

"Rehab Doesn't Work"

I'll be the first to admit, it's tempting to jump to this conclusion.

When you're under-resourced, lacking finances, all the support around you has gone away, and the realization hits home that 'life is *my* responsibility' - it's easy to give up at this point.

It's easier to down tools here, and blame your recovery progress (or lack of it) on an outsider.

It must be their fault - they're supposed to help me (do it for me).

It's easier to continue the ongoing lack of responsibility, even though we're detoxed and in treatment, we still have to detox from the behaviour, of external locus of responsibility, blame, and dependence.

This all takes time.

It's easier for me to conclude "treatment doesn't work" than it is for me to undergo the pain of accepting *full* responsibility for my recovery is down to me and me alone.

Because then it's still their fault.

Of course, there are various flavors of this, like "it's not my time", "they didn't understand my needs", "the food/laundry/rooms/therapy/cleaning/medical staff/keyworkers didn't understand me" etc etc

Word to the wise: if you're thinking about addiction treatment, and you're even considering the above as a possibility, you're not ready.

Readiness means, a prepared-ness to uphold all your life's responsibilities, during recovery.

That's not to say you'll be doing that alone. Support is always available.

But the willingness to meet life on life's terms, is central to your long term success.

This is especially so for rehab centers which we pay for.

As a consumer, when we pay for a service, we automatically have an expectation that the service will provide for us.

We expect them to do the work for us.

You need an alcohol & drug rehab clinic which is going to be straight, and lay out the nature of responsibility for your recovery, from the outset.

Will they provide a service? Sure.

Are they there to do it for you? Nope. That's on you.

Of course, most folks entering recovery aren't ready for this, especially immediately after admitting to a facility.

That's why the center will help to guide you along the way. And gently, as time goes on, you'll pick up a little more of the slack.

Be careful with your conclusions about rehab and treatment.

Maybe "rehab doesn't work" is best translated as "I didn't work in rehab".

Catch up soon.

- Ed

What Does Addiction Recovery Mean To You?

For some of us, it's about overcoming trauma from the past, that we never quite got over, and ended up falling into alcoholism or drug addiction from.

For others, it's about recognising what the addiction was achieving for us, and how to put a better way of coping, in its place.

For yet others, it could be about getting away from a harmful environment full of triggers towards usage.

The problem of addiction is world-wide, and unlikely to improve anytime soon, as the opiate epidemic sweeps the globe and more illicit substances are available at lower prices than ever.

Long term prescription opiate users, e.g. recovering from physical injury are often abruptly cut off, leaving them seeking substitutes like heroin in its place.

Addiction affects everyone, including the lives' of the family and friends around us.

The real truth of recovery, for me at least, was an admission of responsibility, and a facing up to doing what I needed to do in my life - and to realise that constantly attempting to find an escape - no matter what that escape is - is no way to live life.

Sometimes, it's not about overcoming crippling depression or a past trauma - it's an acceptance, a change in our everyday attitude, that life is not supposed to be a dramatic rollercoaster...and learning to be ok with that.

As you probably know, a lot of addiction, is spent in a state of anticipation of the next high....not the the actual high itself. Many are addicted as much to the anticipation as they are to the substance itself.

So the acceptance that *no high is worth sacrificing life for* - is one that has to be learned over time. Integrated into day-to-day living.

In a way, there is a loss in our lives, and we must learn to live around that, and through that.

Thanks for reading,

- Ed

Addiction Recovery News & Views

Alcohol Addiction recovery is a group sport, and one that needs as many of us helping each other as possible.

At TRW we'll be bringing you global coverage of alcohol recovery news and views that speak of the tough issues those in recovery face today.

Alcohol Addiction recovery is a group sport, and one that needs as many of us helping each other as possible.

At TRW we'll be bringing you global coverage of alcohol recovery news and views that speak of the tough issues those in recovery face today.


  • Interviews
  • ​Commentary & Opinion on the latest headlines
  • ​Celebrity recovery....(yes, it matters too!)
  • ​Recovery celebrations such as Walks and Marches worldwide​
  • ​Stories of inspiration, and above all, hope.

​You probably shouldn't miss it. Get ready.

​Quote For Today

​"Alcohol is not the answer, it just makes you forget the question..."





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We don't provide advice or recommend any specific intervention for treatment.
Always consult your Doctor in the first instance.