Recovery Messages & News

Confusion in Recovery

By Eric Fisher, Canadian Certified Counsellor

Oftentimes in recovery there is difficulty in making a distinction between what is recovery and what is disease. The lines may be blurred to the point that a person may become confused when it comes to a certain situation, behaviour, thought, or feeling. What makes the confusion more challenging is the high probability of a mixture of feelings linked with both disease and recovery. When this confusion emerges, the person may feel it is impossible to find a clear delineation between what is linked to recovery and what is linked to Addiction.

One way to come to a more coherent understanding is to check the confusion out with others in recovery or healthcare professionals who understand Addiction. A word of caution: professionals lacking knowledge about the disease will have a difficult time understanding and offering sufficient feedback. Family members may have their own preconceived biases and feelings, such as resentment and anger toward the family member in recovery. These preconceived notions may make it difficult for them to issue constructive feedback. If they are at a healthy place in their own recovery journey, then they may be able to listen empathically and give clear, recovery-focused feedback. Processing the feelings connected with the confusing situation, thoughts, behaviours, and/or feelings is very important.

Journaling may also assist in creating a more coherent understanding amidst the confusion. Bringing the confusion to the Higher Power of your own understanding is another avenue to take. This can be accomplished through meditation, prayer, and other similar techniques that tap into the spiritual connection. Another key proponent is to implement relaxation skills, such as progressive muscle relaxation, which helps to bring focus and more clarity without the desire to rush into fixing the problem, which is tailored to the disease. Be willing to surrender the desire to attach to the outcome for whatever confusion is present. This includes being fixated on doing what is right; this attitude links to the schema one must be perfect in all life situations.

Remember, confusion may come about but that doesn’t mean it’ll last forever. A person experiencing the confusion in recovery is not isolated in what he or she is feeling. There are others who have the ability to empathize and give supportive feedback. There are numerous strategies one may employ, not all of which are listed herein. A person has the ability to arrive at enough clarity to make healthy decisions based in recovery. It may not come on a silver platter though, and therein lies the importance of action within the recovery journey. Remember, the most important question to ask is ‘Does this support my recovery?’ Intuition, journaling, feedback from others, and self-knowledge will bring clarity.