During the first decade of my recovery I mostly thought of myself a strict fundamentalist when it came down to defining recovery. Use of methadone, anti-depressants, and even substances like disulfiram would have kept you off my “real” recovery list back in the day, although I would have never said so openly lest I discourage anyone from their efforts to improve their quality of life.
I placed in bold the phrase ”quality of life” because this is the area where I had made a clear error in judgment. I, like much of the general public, had confused terms like clean, sane, and sober with recovery. But recovery is a journey… not a definable state, but a continuous improvement, especially in terms of quality of life. It’s about recovering parts one has lost to addiction, and even some that have never been attained. If an anti-depressant or methadone is a tool used to help start this journey, then they should be viewed as part of the recovery process instead of part of the problem.
Conquering my own demons has made me value my sobriety and concurrent recovery. However, watching those same demons shred both loved ones and strangers made me re-evaluate my thoughts on the subject. Addiction is a relentless foe, more often than not periods of sobriety are followed by episodes of relapse. The odds of long term recovery are just not very good. As I mature in my recovery I now see that many more people will start the road to recovery because these tools help break the viscious progression of addiction.
So if I have to choose- (a) just a few completely clean and sober, or (b) many more entering recovery through medical assistance… I’ll take the latter and just look forward to helping those that continue down the path to recovery begin a tapering process when they’re ready.