One of the problems that many individuals early in recovery have is that after being in a residential treatment program they tend to feel so much better, physically. The tendency is for these individuals to start to believe that they are better, that they have got it. Some even believe that all they need to do after treatment is go to AA or NA meetings and get a sponsor to stay clean and sober. The process of recovery seems so very simple.
Shortly after discharge from the residential treatment program the individual may start to experience a great deal of stress and anxiety and even depression, or both. For many the euphoria experienced at the end of their residential treatment stay is starting to quickly fade away. In an attempt to escape the anxious and depressed feelings that are starting to appear again, they relapse, usually with their drug of choice.
It is important for the individual early in recovery to be told that detox and residential treatment programs are only the very beginning, not the fix. Unfortunately, treatment programs tend to market themselves as that which will end the individual's drug and alcohol addiction. While the staff of residential treatment programs may not honestly be aware of the fallacy of their statements to clients, the statistical results speak for themselves.
Recovery is not a physical change. Recovery is about a transformation, a transformation of thought and attitude. For an individual to change their self image and with it their self esteem, takes time and a great deal of effort. Once an individual works through the denial that the cause of their addiction is their negative self image, they have to commit to the work of transformation. Transformation is when an individual reinvents themselves, altering what they think about their value and worth as a human being.
Dr. Harry Henshaw