by Terence T. Gorski
May 21, 2017

Recovery is a complex and multifaceted process that develops and strengthens over time. It is not the event of stopping.


Addiction, defined here as the repeated act of drinking and drugging that brings undesired pain an problems is not an event. It is a complex and multifaceted process that has one primary purpose — to keep the process going.

Addiction is a complex process with many moving parts and a capacity to self-repair. The goal of addiction is to keep the addictive process going. It does this by using many things, like bad habits that make you hungry, tired, and stressed, that have nothing directly to do drinking and drugging.

Addiction also takes at least partial control of the most powerful computer on earth — the human brain-mind creates and uses non-drug components of the addiction process to put us into events where drinking and drugging seem like a good things.

The non-drinking/drug parts of the addiction process use parts include things like:

  • denial,
  • withdrawal,
  • craving,
  • addictive thinking,
  • addiction-centered lifestyles (hanging around people, places, and things that make it easy to use again by making us miserable. This is often called a dry drunk.

Remember, the only goal of the addiction process is to keep you in the endless pursuit of creating more drinking and drugging events.
Unless you have learned about these other parts of the addiction process stay hidden causing you so much pain and problems in recovery that using alcohol and other drugs seems like a good idea. The you can plug the numerous different drinking and drugging events back into the overall addictive process.

I hope that you can see that just stopping one or even a series of drinking/events won’t permanently stop the addiction process. Stopping the even of drinking and drugging may seem to temporarily interrupt the process, but you can be sure that other hidden parts of the addiction process are at work creating so much pain m, problems, and opportunities that it’s only a matter of time that “the right” and perfectly safe delinking/drugging event presents itself.

As a result, I believe that stopping drinking and drugging is necessary but insufficient for long-term meaningful recovery. Unfortunately there is much more to to recovery than just “not drinking and drugging.

Long-term meaningful and comfortable recovery, called sobriety requires three things:

1. We must understand the entire addiction process, developing skills for managing each part of it.

2. We must replace the Addiction Process with a RECOVERY PROCESS that allows us to manage pain, solve problems, and finding meaning and purpose in life. The recovery process must become an habitual ways of living that supports abstinence, discourages substance use, and gives us the tools to be physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.

3. We must learn relapse prevention skills.


Relapse is the process of becoming dysfunctional in recovery and failing to use our recovery tools to stop the process.

Relapse often starts with getting stuck in recovery. There is something we need to do to keep our recovery stable, but we don’t do it. Why?

We either don’t notice what’s going and how dangerous it is. Or else we see what’ happening but for some reason we either can’t we’re not capable), won’t (we refuse to try), or we don’t know how and refuse to learn.

We go into denial,we use magical and addictive thinking to make ourselves believe it will just go away. Then we experience unmanageable feelings and emotions like anger, shame, guilt and resentment.

These feelings stat to eat us up on the inside and we start losing our sense of meaning and purpose in recovery. We may start thinking of drinking and activated alcohol and drug craving.

We want to have some fun by bong around people, places, and things where alcohol and drugs are easy to get. We feel a compulsion, called addiction seeking behaviors, which make us want to to around these high risk situations, and eventually we start using again.

Recovering people can learn to recognize and manage these early warns signs of relapse. They can also learn to recognize and manage high risk situations that activate craving, remove support for recovery, and feeds them false promises that addictive use will make everyone better, at least for awhile.


This is the false promise of addiction: Addictive use will take away my pain and solve my problems.

Addictive use can only make us feel better for a little while. It cannot really make anything better. The longer we stay addicted the more we need to drunk and drug to get the feeling we want.

Our tolerances rises and eventually, there is no way to get the relief we found in the early days of our addiction. We begin needing to drug or use drugs that don’t even make us feel good for a little while.

We find ourselves trapped once again in our addiction. Why?

The answer is simple yet painful. It’s because of something that we either did or did’t do that is described in the article above.

That’s all well and good, but before we can search out what went wrong and fix it, we have to stop drinking and drugging. And to stop may require detox.

As so often happens in addiction, we went around the circle and did the minimum to get by. Then a big change that causes stress hits us and our old addictive habits and ways of thinking and managing emotions come back.

We loose our perspective, are to shamed or afraid to ask for help. We pretend everything is OK until suddenly we’re trapped in an addictive crisis that we can’t manage.

Live Sober – Be Responsible – Live Free