The process of recovery can be very demanding. No matter your age, gender, or sexual orientation, recovery is a difficult process. However, recent research indicates that there are some unique obstacles for women versus men and for gay recovering addicts versus heterosexuals.
Nonetheless, there are some obstacles that can play a role no matter who you are. Certainly, recovery requires emotional, psychological, and at times, even spiritual development. For this reason, depending upon where you are in your psychological development, the following may be obstacles to getting and staying sober:
Level of Maturity
Sometimes, addiction can keep one stuck in an early developmental stage. This is especially true when there is unhealed trauma in one’s life. When an individual has had an experience of trauma early in life, it’s common to repeat that trauma again and again through the various circumstances in his or her life, particularly if that trauma affected his or her sense of personal power. Powerlessness is fundamental pattern of addiction and is also a result of experiencing early trauma. As a result, there might be a lack of impulse control, a tendency to make poor decisions and an inability to discern whether a situation is safe. Those who experienced early trauma might have low level of psychological maturity. They may not be able to commit to or fully participate in drug treatment and their sobriety might be at risk.
Some individuals, especially those in early recovery, might still feel identified with the glamour of using drugs. Those who are early in their recovery can continue to hold drug use with a certain ideal. During the early stages of their drug treatment experiences, they might share their stories of first time use, any unusual and memorable experiences, or the relationships they have with friends who also use. This story telling and the sense of nostalgia that is created as a result can be an obstacle to creating a life without drugs and alcohol. Despite a desire to recover from their addiction, a continued pattern of holding drugs with fascination can get in the way of their recovery.
No Hitting Bottom
Many individuals who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol had to hit bottom first before they have the willingness to fully surrender to the recovery process. Some have not yet had the experience or the number of years in their life to hit bottom yet.Hitting bottom can sometimes mean losing a job, losing a marriage or children, and even becoming homeless. If an individual was mandated to attend drug treatment, for example, and they have not had any life altering or devastating experiences that drugs can create, they might not be able to commit to getting sober. Often, once an addiction gets this bad, an individual is willing to do anything it takes to change. Some individuals who are in drug treatment might not be at this stage.
Once some individuals are out of drug rehab, the community in which they return may be made up of those who are still drinking or using drugs. They may re-enter the same socialization patterns, even if they are not spending time with the same friends before rehab, new friends might possess similar dysfunctional character traits or unhealthy habits, such as risk-taking behavior. Furthermore, friendships and socialization are often a significant component to addiction. There are drinking friends and drugging companions. Frequently, the use of drugs and alcohol is what holds relationships together. If some individuals are not committed to their drug treatment and sobriety, they may return to these drug-focused relationships. Of course, an essential part of drug treatment is a discussion of influences from friends and how to find friendships that are healthy, supportive, and alcohol and drug-free.
These may be obstacles to watch for when beginning drug treatment. Recovery certainly requires commitment, maturity, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to stay sober, and the above list might get in the way of that.