Five Elements of Recovery

The information I share about recovery from addiction comes from my own personal experiences with my family and friends. I am not a trained professional. I am simply a concerned mother and citizen.

Everything I have learned about recovery from addiction I have learned the hard way—one principle at a time.

I have talked to many professionals.
I have sat through many therapy sessions and self-help groups.
I have listened to many lectures.
I have talked to many parents.
I have cut out many magazine and newspaper articles.
I have read many books.
I have talked to many teenagers.
I have walked through many hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
I have visited many jails.

Gradually, over the years I began to form my own opinions as to what really works and what doesn’t work. I finally came to the conclusion that people must have Five Elements of Recovery in their lives to break free from the cycle of addiction: Faith in God, Desire to Change, Accountability, Family Love, and Friends with Integrity.

I believe all five of these elements are essential to recovery. With all five of these elements working together at the same time, there will eventually be success. Without all five of them, recovery will be much more difficult.

When people consistently exercise faith in God’s healing power, have the desire to change, take accountability for their actions and participate in some type of recovery program, learn how to give and receive unconditional family love, and only associate with strong and supportive drug-free friends with integrity, they can break free from the bondage of their addictions and become the people they truly want to be.

Individual self-worth can be restored, friendships can be mended, and families can become strong once again.

1. Faith in God

Lacking faith and having feelings of bitterness or unworthiness keep people who are addicted from ever tapping into the greatest source of strength there is around them—God’s healing power. Once you experience God’s power, you will never forget it. Once you embrace God’s power, you will never want to let it go.

2. Desire to Change

The desire to change must come from within. No one can force another person to change. The physical and emotional suffering that comes from addiction often instills the desire to change. Equally important, there must be hope. People who are addicted must know there really is a way that they can change their lives.

3. Accountability

Willpower alone is usually not enough to heal people’s addictions. If you are addicted, take responsibility for your life. Find a mentor, professional counselor, or some type of program that provides you with the structure you need while you learn how to make necessary changes in your life and report back to them as you achieve your goals.

4. Family Love

Unconditional love within families is vital. No matter how hurt and rejected family members might feel, they all need to love and forgive each other. Love is not enabling others or being codependent. Love means radiating real affection from the heart. People who are addicted will recover faster when they are loved and give love to others in return.

5. Friends with Integrity

One of the hardest trials people who are addicted have to face is finding new, strong friends who do not use alcohol and drugs and who will support them in their recovery. Saying good-bye to old friends and habits may leave people feeling lonely and vulnerable, but, like a snake shedding its old skin, it must be done.