Solo recovery is nothing new. There have always been people who manage to walk away from an addiction without too much help. It is tempting to dismiss such individuals as not having had a real addiction, but it is obvious from the history of these people that many of them were in real trouble. Somehow they did manage to achieve lasting and successful recovery from addiction without any help. Solo recovery is not something that works for everyone, but does seem to work for many people. Those individuals who initially received some help in the early days of sobriety are the most likely to succeed with solo recovery.
There are different interpretations of the term solo recovery. It can be used to describe people who received help at the beginning of their recovery but later decided to go it alone. An example of this would be the many people who attend rehab but then decide that they do not need any further help. Other individuals may be involved in the recovery community for many years before they decide to go it alone. Solo recovery can also refer to people who just stop their addiction without any help at all.
There are many possible reasons for why people choose to recover from their addiction without any help including:
* Some individuals live in isolated communities where there is very little in the way of resources to help them recover from an addiction.
* People may have had bad experiences with recovery groups in the past. They are not prepared to risk a repeat performance of this.
* There will be some individuals who are just not serious about staying sober. They might be just taking a temporary break from their addiction to please other people. In reality they are not interested in long term sobriety so do not feel they need any help.
* Some people have found their own path in recovery from addiction. They are serious about staying sober but just do not feel the need for any further support. Such individual will often have spent time in rehab in the beginning where they were able to build a strong foundation for their sobriety. These people would usually be willing to seek help if they ever felt their sobriety was at risk.
There can be some benefits to going it alone in recovery:
* Lifelong attendance at a support group is not something that appeals to everyone. Some people will just not be prepared to commit to such an undertaking. So long as they are firmly established in their recovery they may find success by going it alone.
* The religious undertones of the 12 Step programs can be off-putting to many of people. These individuals may be able to create a more personal recovery program that works better for them.
* Groups such as Rational Recovery do not believe that it is necessary for people to receive continued assistance once they become sober. They encourage people to get sober and just live their life. The philosophy of this group is that once people are no longer drinking they are free of their addiction. Rational Recovery considers attendance at meetings is not only a waste of time, but it might also keep the individual trapped in the addict mindset.
There are some real dangers associated with solo recovery including:
* It is common for people to assume that they are capable of solo recovery, but it will not be a good option for many of these individuals. The chance of escape from addiction is a precious gift and going solo could be considered a gamble.
* If people who have abused alcohol or drugs for many years try to stop without help they could be putting their life in danger. This is particularly true for those individuals who have a history of seizures when coming off these substances. It is often necessary for hardened addicts to have their withdrawal symptoms medically supervised.
* The reasons why people want to recovery without help might be the exact reasons why they need such help. Unfortunately humans will often have an initial aversion to the things that they most need in their life. Some people choose to go it alone in recovery because they are not prepared to face the challenges of sobriety. By not facing these challenges they are putting their future in grave jeopardy.
* There is a full social life available for people who belong to the recovery community. This can include events such as discos, concerts, and conferences. Those who go it alone miss out on all this.
* It is easy for people in recovery to go off track. The problem is that the individual may not even notice they have taken a wrong turn. Those who belong to a sober community will have other people who can spot the warning signs of going off course.
* Recovery from an addiction is a process and not an event. There will usually be reasons for why the individual began abusing these substances in the first place. It is likely that such reasons will still be there when people stop using alcohol or drugs. If the only change they make to their life is quitting their addiction then this is unlikely to be enough. The process of recovery requires that they make significant changes to their life. It can be much easier to make such alterations with the help of other people.
* In order for people to beat their addiction they need to be willing to do whatever it takes. If getting help is going to increase their chances of recovery then they would be wise to make use of the available resources. A lack of willingness to avail of such help could be a sigh of a lack of desire to do what it takes to remain sober. This may indicate that the individual is on a path that will take them right back to addiction.
* If people who are sober continue to spend time with drinking or drug using friends they will be putting their recovery at real risk. It will therefore be important for them to make new friends. All humans rely on a social group for support functions such as physical assistance, emotional support, information resource, and feedback on personal behavior. Becoming involved in the addiction recovery community can help the individual build a new network of friends.
One of the worries with people choosing solo recovery can be that they are suffering from terminal uniqueness. This is where the individual becomes convinced that the situation they are facing is unlike anything that other people have faced. People suffering from terminal uniqueness will therefore not consider that the solutions that work for other people will be appropriate for them. This means that they put their recovery at risk because they are not prepared to make use of what is available. This type of thinking often stems from ignorance and arrogance. It can lead people right back into the midst of addiction. This type of thinking is also associated with the addictive personality.
When people make use of recovery resources it can greatly increase their chances of achieving long term sobriety. If the individual feels determined to go it alone there may be things they can do to increase their chances of success:
* It is recommended that people get some help at least in the early months of their recovery. This is the time when they are most likely to relapse so support can be highly beneficial. It is said to take about five years before people become firmly established in recovery.
* It is important that people examine their motives for choosing solo recovery. If they are just trying to avoid dealing with things then this will not be a good motive for going solo.
* Those people who initially attend rehab may be able to develop many of the skills they need for solo recovery. It can also be helpful to attend any booster sessions available within the first year of recovery. This will reinforce learning and rejuvenate motivation.
* Individuals who go it alone need to be willing to seek help if they ever feel their sobriety is at risk. Solo recovery does not need to involve burning any bridges.