Now that he's all done with his program, it is tempting to think things are back to normal. I don't want to fall into this trap. Everyone says the second you start to think you're in the clear, your spiral towards relapse begins. I am hoping Ken isn't too cocky and will take his continual recovery seriously. By that I mean I hope he keeps going to meetings, follows through with finding a sponsor, and so on.
I ordered a bunch of information from www.nar-anon.org. I have it, but I haven't taken the time to sit down and read through it all. I really need to. I think I have avoided it a little and I'm not sure that I have a good explanation as to why.
The day I went with Ken to his outpatient program the topic in one of the groups was recovery vs. relapse. The leader talked about recovery as a change in behavior, mindset and lifestyle. If you don't change those things and all you do is take away the substance, you are not recovering you are merely abstaining and that will not create the foundation for lasting recovery.
He explained recovery in terms of an escalator moving down. As long as you are making an effort, showing up to meetings, doing things you know are good for you, you will be able to maintain your position or even achieve a higher level. If you stop taking steps, the escalator will take you down closer and closer to relapse. Abstinence won't solve the problem. We have to be proactive and take the necessary action to work on what caused the substance abuse in the first place.
I'm going to have to keep reminding myself to take that advice.