Recovery from addiction can seem like a never-ending process, and so it is, from a standpoint of healing. Life is a never-ending learning and growing process, so it is with healing. Because recovery embraces all of the addicts’ life, both before and after they enter recovery, it will be never ending. That does not need to be as daunting as it may sound. Healing is a circular and spiral process at the same time, not a linear one. As recovery deepens over time, the recovering person will come to the same issues and hit the same brick walls they came into the recovery process with.
While these issues will certainly heal, the process will bring them back into focus again and again, for deeper and more significant healing. As recovery goes on, the same person will address their important emotional growth on deeper and more significant levels each time they work through the same troubles that were present for them in their addiction.
As an example, if Henry has had trouble with intimacy before his recovery, he will become more and more involved in intimate relationships with others as his recovery progresses. If he is stable in maintaining his growth and development in recovery, he will address the need to develop deeper intimacy in these same relationships, as well as any others that may come along. Long term relationships develop deeper intimacy as they go along, so will Henry’s need to learn to go deeper into the intimacy of relationships. This is something that he could not come to terms with in his addiction. The longer he remains in recovery, the greater his ability to go deeper into intimacy with others will become. Therefore, the never-ending process has rewards that are a part of, but separate from, his recovery. Due to his recovery, Henry will be able to address his issues with intimacy in ways that he would never have dreamed possible. This is true for all who are in recovery, no matter what their issues may be.
Healing in a circular pattern means that we will come back to the point of the issue with certain things in our lives over and over, not necessarily on a predictable basis or pattern, but repeatedly as we deepen our strengths in other areas as well. The spiral pattern means that we will come closer and closer to the core of who we dream of being and closer and nearer to our heart centers as we grow. The energetic patterns of all matter are circular and spiral, such as the movement of the Earth around the Sun and other orbits, such as the helix of an atom. If energy is circular and spiral, then it is fitting and appropriate to visualize healing as such. As we grow closer and closer to our heart centers, over time, we will become freer and freer of the old patterns of behavior and belief that were part and parcel of addictions.
Recovery will then become a journey, not the destination some believe it to be. The journey takes us into the realm of our heart centers, which is the center of the circular pattern as well. As we grow deeper and deeper into our hearts, we become more and more healed from the ideas and behaviors that we practiced in our addiction and more and more available to participate, not only in healing and recovery, but in a beautiful life.
Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions’ counselor.