How to Choose the Right Recovery Program
5 tips to help you choose the right recovery program to fit your needs
November 3, 2017 | Kimberly Dewberry
Recovery is for everyone. I’ve redefined recovery as something we all need because we all have something in our past that is the root cause of our habits, hurts, or hang-ups. I’m not an alcoholic or a drug addict, but I had idols in my life that replaced God. These idols were mere symptoms of a deeper issue that had manifested in my heart over the years. I couldn’t have realized these idols were, in fact, idols or the deeper issue that caused them unless I had a good recovery program helping to guide the way.
My therapist advised me to join a recovery program over two years ago. When she made this suggestion, I know I looked at her as if she had three heads! Why in the world do I need recovery? My husband has the drinking problem, not me! My dad was an alcoholic, not me! Needless to say, I resisted in the beginning.
Over a few months, I began to research the different recovery programs I could find that might be able to help me fix my alcoholic husband. I finally chose one and with apprehension, walked into the small room. As the heads turned and eyes landed on me when I walked through the door, my armpits began to sweat and my mouth seemed to fill with cotton. I sat in the back of the room and waiting for instruction so I could fix my chaotic life.
I quickly learned that room was not the place I would find steps to fixing my husband. In fact, there was nothing said about what I should do about him. Zero. Zilch. Nada. This perplexed me. I went back the next week and the week after that, too. I attended for almost a year and learned that recovery is not about fixing the other person, instead, it is about fixing me. What a revelation! Especially when I didn’t even realize I needed recovery in the first place.
If you are not sure if recovery is right for you, check out my post What is Recovery and Why Do I Need It. If you know for sure, you need to find a recovery program that fits your needs, you are in the right place!
So, let’s get to it. Here are the 5 things I wish I had known before I started a recovery program.
1. Recovery is for me, NOT the alcoholic or addict
Let me clarify here. I do believe an alcoholic or addict needs recovery, too, but that is not for me to decide for the alcoholic or addict. They have to decide that on their own. I am responsible for me and nobody else. Listen, I know it hurts to have an active alcoholic or addict in your life. I’ve been there, but to find serenity, even in the midst of the chaos, recovery is essential for me to take part in. Keep an open mind when walking through those doors for the first time. You are making a very important first step and the process will change your life for the better. It works if you work it!
2. Recovery will NOT give me instruction on how to fix anyone, but me
Like I’ve already said, recovery is for me, therefore, I will not learn a quick fix for the alcoholic or addict in my life. The program will, however, provide you with the needed steps of instruction on how to fix what ails you. In the end, we all have things in our past that serve as a road-map to our patterns and behaviors. Going through the steps of recovery will help pin down the source of our pain and help to work through it. This will help stop the patterns and behaviors from wrecking our relationships.
3. Not all recovery programs are created equal
There are so many different types of recovery programs out there. Make sure and do your research on each one. I’ve included the more popular ones on my page, Why Recovery. That is a good place to start. The more traditional programs are not necessarily Christ-centered programs and speak primarily of a “higher power” instead of mentioning God or Jesus Christ. These programs are not for me. There are several different Christ-centered 12-step programs to serve the growing Christian not only with recovery from their habits, hurts, and hang-ups, but also lead them closer to Christ in their journey.
4. Recovery takes time
Nothing with long-lasting results happens overnight. In today’s immediate gratification society, we tend to expect instantaneous results. That’s not reality, though. You may be able to order an e-book and have it in an instant, but recovery is progress, not perfection. It takes time and dedication. It takes being honest, transparent, and authentic when going through each step. You are investing time into your serene future, go through it with intention and patience.
5. Go at least 6 times before you decide
I recommend going to whichever recovery program at a minimum of 6 times before deciding if it is the right one or not. The reason is most meetings are once per week and only last for 2-3 hours. Going once or even twice will not give you enough insight on how the program works, what the core values of the program are, or if there is a connection with the people involved. Have patience and focus on whether the program fits your spiritual and emotional needs.
Take it to God in prayer
This is a bonus tip because I believe prayer and consulting with God is vital to every decision we make. Maybe you are brand new to the Christian faith, but know you need help with the alcoholic or addict in your life. You landed on this page looking for that help. I want you to know you are not alone. God loves you and wants to help you. Take your request to Him and listen closely. He will answer you, maybe not immediately, but He will. While it is important to ask God for His guidance when you are researching and locating a recovery program, the best recovery programs, in my opinion, are Christ-centered. There are several of those out there, so find the one that is closest to you and you are comfortable attending.
We all have some sort of issues, me included. Recovery offers the tools needed to not only work through issues, figure out the reason behind them, and what to do about them, but recovery helps to improve our relationships with God and others. Recovery has provided me with the essentials I need to face any new issues that come up, so I am better equipped to handle them with God’s wisdom.
Want to know if recovery is right for you?