A fulfilling life is the ultimate goal of addiction recovery
addictive behavior, and in so doing, recover (or develop) a fulfilling life.”
As we gain independence from addictive behavior, or help others to do so, we need to remember that there is a greater goal: to live a good life. Recovery from addictive behavior sets the stage for the recovery of satisfactions and pleasures that were not possible while still engaged in addictive behavior.
The fourth point of SMART’s 4-Point Program® concerns lifestyle balance: “to balance momentary and enduring satisfactions.” Addictive behavior provides a momentary satisfaction. As addictive behavior develops, the individual’s time-frame shrinks. The focus is increasingly on obtaining momentary satisfaction. Satisfactions that require time – hobbies, family, work, volunteering – tend to drop out of the individual’s life. But it is getting those satisfactions back, or developing them, that is the culmination of recovery. As it states in the SMART Purposes and Methods statement (which includes the 4-Point Program):
“For many sincere participants there will come a time when attending our groups, or participating in our other services, is more in conflict with the pursuit of their life goals than enhancing them. Although these participants will always be welcome back if they want to come, this conflict signals that the time for graduation has arrived.”
These graduating participants have developed full and satisfying lives. They are learning, achieving, making money, helping others, raising children, and doing the myriad other things that self-actualizing individuals do with their lives.
SMART’s purpose is to help individuals gain independence from addictive behavior, and in so doing, recover (or develop) a fulfilling life.
It is a delight to observe the entire process of “recovery from” leading to “recovery of.” Often, of course, that process is a long one that seems at times to move backward as well as forward. There is also no clear endpoint. But there does come a point at which one can feel definitely on the way. If you are there, congratulations! If you are still working on it, it’s worth the effort!
This article was adapted from a previously posted President’s Letter by Dr. Tom Horvath.