We Choose Life
Real Recovery has a strong foundation in Desire-Forward Recovery
What is Desire-forward recovery?
Desire-forward recovery is a rational, pleasure seeking approach to lifestyle change.
First: Desire is natural and important. Desire is part of life. We can have competing desires and we can choose.
Second: The sweeter the reward seems, the more we are willing to sacrifice for it.
Third: Neuroscience suggests that dwelling on what is not permitted can hinder lasting change.
Therefore, Real Recovery embraces desire instead of going to war with it. Through self-exploration and motivational interviewing, clients learn to assess what is most important; and where to implement desire; and to choose what can be sacrificed. Furthermore, Real Recovery is intentionally fun.
What do we want?
- Mental serenity
- Coolness/admiration from others
- Rest and relaxation
- Sex (preferences vary)
- Fancy things
- Creative self-expression
- Healthy romance
Real Recovery and Recovery Planning
Relapse prevention planning is semi-redundant. This is a crucial concept because brain science indicates that over-focusing on self-restraint does not reinforce habit change. In other words: ruminating on not doing something may not help facilitate a lifestyle change over time. On the other hand, developing a conscious awareness of competing desires, goals and achievements creates boundless energy and motivation that can leave problematic behaviors feeling like something in the past. This notion of dueling voices meshes with DBT, Motivational Interviewing, Reality Therapy, CBT, REBT, NLP, Freudian and the classical and ancient philosophies.
Once in recovery, the reasons for stopping the addiction lifestyle are obvious. ‘Relapse’ becomes the painful place, the place to avoid; but some won’t have a destination in mind yet. This protracted abstinence can be temporary. The phase of ‘knowing what I can’t have without knowing what I want’ can be long and painful without support. Not overcoming this phase may bear fruit in the form of relapse.
Over time, life accomplishments become more important. While the reasons for avoiding addiction are painful and motivating – and abstinence is something to be proud of – the positive rewards for recovery are infinite in number and duration, and the desire for those rewards over time may make relapse prevention seem like a forgone conclusion.
Freedom is a key value for young adults.
Most of our clients are historically rebellious. Real Recovery clients are responsive to motivational interviewing; and it is not difficult to help clients remember what is important to them and that substance misuse was the primary constrictor of freedom. Addiction is slavery.
Real Recovery has always been known for emphasizing fun in recovery. Recent neuroscience confirms that authentic relationships, athleticism, recreational commitments, concrete and systematic goal setting, and even beach and ski trips help recovery in a serious way (and help prevent relapse).