In 12-Step recovery, there is something known as the “Primary Purpose Statement” that is often recited at the beginning of meetings. The beginning of the statement reads, “The primary purpose of any [recovery] group is to carry the [recovery] message to [those in need].” Yes, the primary purpose of anyone who wants to stay sober is to understand the importance of keeping recovery the first priority.
Why Recovery Must Always Come First
One must think of their recovery and their other responsibilities, such as home, friendships, and work, on opposite ends of a scale. These must remain balanced or else one’s recovery can soon be overtaken, and when this happens the chances of a relapse go up exponentially. Also, relapse is much more common than many people might think.
According to the peer-reviewed article, New Findings on Biological Factors Predicting Addiction Relapse Vulnerability, “It has long been known that addictive disorders are chronic and relapsing in nature. Recent estimates from clinical treatment studies suggest that more than two thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment.” Also, “For 1-year outcomes across alcohol, nicotine, weight, and illicit drug abuse, studies show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within 1 year of treatment.” While the reasons for this cannot be wholly defined, one big reason is that other obligations became more important than one’s recovery.
Understanding the Primary Purpose: The Importance of Keeping Recovery the First Priority
In Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), it is often said that their “primary purpose is to stay sober and help another alcoholic” (similar things are also said across the broader 12-Step community). This is all about the importance of keeping recovery the first priority.
There is also a saying in 12-Step recovery that goes “Keep your sobriety green.” What this means is for an individual to stay connected to when they were first getting sober. This means never forget the struggle that first came from getting sober, such as going through withdrawals and the nervousness and anxiety that comes with them. Also, it is important to remember how much pain was involved with active addiction.
This is not to say that one should “remain in morbid reflection” as the “Big Book” of 12-Step recovery calls it. It just means that remembering the hard times makes the good times in sobriety that much sweeter. Also, it helps to remind one of the importance of keeping recovery the first priority.
Explaining the Importance of Keeping Recovery the First Priority to Loved Ones
Now, keeping recovery the first priority can be difficult when loved ones don’t quite understand why they are not being prioritized. They may find this especially strange now that an individual is sober and more present.
However, one must explain to their loved ones that if recovery does not come first, then everything else has the potential to soon be lost as well. It must be explained that the only reason that their relationship is being mended is that they are sober. If not, the very conversation would most likely not be happening.
They must explain that everything they put in front of their recovery they are going to lose. However, their recovery now allows them to be a better partner, friend, and/or employee, and that is what should be focused on.
The Importance of Keeping a Recovery Community Close
Now, the second part of A.A.’s primary purpose is “to help another alcoholic.” In doing so, one can keep their own recovery both in check and prioritized. When an individual is helping someone else with their recovery, they are actually helping themselves as well. This is the very essence of the importance of keeping recovery first.
Also, keeping a recovery community close keeps one accountable to their recovery plan. When an individual remains accountable, they also remain active in their recovery. This activity ensures that their recovery remains at the forefront and thus also greatly reduces the risk of that relapse that was mentioned earlier.
Keeping Clients’ Recovery Our First Priority at Lantana Recovery
Here at Lantana Recovery, we also have a primary purpose. That purpose is to help as many people achieve long-term recovery as possible. Part of how we do it is by reminding them of the importance of keeping recovery the first priority.
The Indian civil rights leader, Mahatma Gandhi once said “Action expresses priorities.” That is also what we believe in here at Lantana Recovery. We take our actions in recovery seriously because we know that will rub off on our clients. Also, we prioritize their recovery because we know that is the best way to show its necessity. Yes, recovery must be a priority, as it is the most worthwhile goal there is.
There is a saying in 12-Step recovery that goes, “Everything you put above your recovery, you are going to lose.” This means that losing focus in recovery, even due to noble things like family, friends, school, and work, can be disastrous. After all, most likely, none of these things would still exist if it weren’t for being in recovery in the first place. The keys are to stay connected to a recovery plan and a recovery community. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or struggling in recovery, we can help set things right. For more information on putting recovery first, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.