You will get better at whatever it is you aim to do well at if you practice. How much improvement you make and how quickly you achieve it may be dependent on factors other than the amount of practice alone.
As any behavioural or substance addiction treatment centre will advise, this principle certainly applies to achieving recovery from addiction. A word of caution however. An old English saying has it that “practice makes perfect”, but no one in recovery from addiction should concern themselves with perfection. In fact for some people perfectionism may have been an important factor in their addiction. Perfectionists may place themselves under demands that create undue stress, which often plays a part in relapse from recovery into active addiction.
There are no absolutely sure fire methods of achieving recovery but we do know that a number of things seem to help. They include:
We should add to the list of what helps, behaving in ways that align with the culture of recovery rather than with the culture of addiction. Their values are quite distinct. Recovery culture includes being honest and open, letting go, reaching out, taking responsibility and being willing to face up to reality.
When, as in addiction, dishonesty and self-delusion along with manipulation, isolation, dependency and a tendency to control have become second nature, it is difficult to change. Doing so takes the courage of commitment; to walk away from addiction and to walk towards recovery and to keep doing so every single day. Sustaining that commitment requires practice of the behaviours, attitudes and mind sets that both indicate and support the change. It doesn’t really matter how much time it takes.
The great thing about a good treatment/rehab centre is that it provides the time and space to discover what you need to do to make progress in recovery and then helps you to practice it in a safe place with readily available support. Recovery-oriented behaviours begin to become ingrained. They can then be taken out into the world beyond the inpatient treatment centre as personally honed tools.
We sometimes forget that addiction becomes what it is because of practice; continuous repetition of a consuming behaviour. Recovery works on the same principle. Keep practicing recovery and you will get better at it. What’s more it will be a lot more rewarding than addiction and in time will become the new second nature.