The subject of compassion in a recovery program, which deals with treatment for substance addiction, often leads people to think of compassion from others first. Generally, in those who suffer from substance addiction, selfishness and self-absorption are key characteristics. In addition, the idea of compassion in recovery may lead us to believe that addicts ought to receive compassion from others, namely those who are not in recovery (therapists, family, friends, etc). While this does play an important role during the process of recovery, the most beneficial compassion ought to come from the recovering addicts themselves.
Abusive substances tend to cloud good judgment and reasoning in people. They also diminish other qualities such as: relating to others and developing compassion for others people's situations. This is often why drug addicts tend to stick around other drug addicts and find it hard to connect and relate to others who do not suffer from drug addiction. Especially true with the more powerful mind-altering substances, it is very common for people to dwell on their own problems and over-think their own situations. Typically loved one's problems and feelings can be quickly overlooked as the focus continually turns back to the suffering drug addict's stressors and worries.
Various studies have indicated that there are benefits stemming from compassion-development during rehabilitation. It can lead to better rest at night, happier moods in daily life, and general improvement along spiritual paths and reconnecting after rehabilitation. During most rehabilitation programs, there comes a point in therapy where individuals must reflect and face the consequences that came about from abusing loved ones and acquaintances harshly (verbally, physically, or emotionally). The time spent on reflection (not only on one's self-abuse, but on the impact on others) can open doors to a wider understanding of one's consequences and how it affects people.
For example, one common advice given to the loved ones of an individual who suffers from substance addiction is that they should cut off ties, and not enable the addict in anyway. Often times this means that the struggling individual could lose their home, their source of financial help, and even day-to-day comfort and support. It's common for struggling addicts to look onto this with a ˜me' point of view. What they see is that this family member or friend betrayed them, given up on them, doesn't care anymore, and allowed them to be thrown out into harsher conditions. In learning compassion, the recovering addict may finally see the burdened placed upon loved ones by continuing abusive behaviors. Many families have experienced lying, stealing and dangerous situations from a loved one who struggles with substance abuse. It is here that the addict must learn to feel compassionate for family members. After all, they have suffered just as much as the individual, and have had to make hard decisions that put incredible stress and heartache on themselves and others.
In another example, recovering addicts are urged to learn compassion for others in tough situations. The mind set of caring for themselves and only for themselves will need to be remedied. When looking onto other struggling addicts or other people who suffer from difficult life situations, it is essential that the first instinct not be ˜I can't help because it might hurt me' or ˜it's not my problem so I don't care'. By learning to be compassionate for others doors will open to learning how to care for themselves.
Developing compassion during rehabilitation is almost necessary, if not absolutely needed, in order for real growth and healing. Harsh views on others, and a lack of understanding towards mistakes and misfortune, will not allow for true understanding or change. In order for an individual to truly begin to accept and forgive themselves, they must first be able to look onto peers and those who used to rely on them and understand the difficulties and trials that may have been part of their drug problem in the first place.
Importance of Compassion in Recovery Nobody should deal with drug or alcohol addiction alone. At times of great need, it is important to be there for your loved one and guide them toward a full recovery. Since 2002, Florida Center For Recovery has been helping families find the courage to find recovery from eating disorders and process addictions, as well as drug and alcohol addictions such as heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, and prescription medication abuse. Florida Center for Recovery assists patients in restoring their lives by embracing a way of life based upon the 12-Step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and by applying a variety of recovery therapies.
For information on our treatment programs and therapies visit us at:
Florida Center for Recovery “ Addiction Treatment Center: 1-800-960-5041
Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Recovery