Active VS. Passive Recovery Explained

November 19th, 2019

Anyone who has battled addiction can tell you it is a long, arduous journey met with many highs and lows. Addiction is a chronic disease that can often hold its victims underwater until they decide to push back to come up for air. One’s battle with addiction can be met with many peaks and valleys. There are many different aspects to any addiction battle yet, seeking and living out a sober life comes down to you or your loved one. No one can dictate your path with addiction except for you, and it is up to you to make sure you are taking the right steps to get and stay sober.

 However, you or your loved one may find yourself at one point or another asking if the path you are taking is the best one for your sobriety. This is a normal question to ask at any point in your battle as an addiction recovery is a journey met with many twists and turns. Yet, it is important to ask yourself what steps you are taking for yourself in your addiction recovery journey. Often the first step to living a sober life comes down to the approach one starts within their recovery. Everyone will deal with significant bumps in the road at some point in their journey yet one’s response to these instances will show what steps they have taken in recovery. These moments will primarily show is one is taking an active or a passive approach to their addiction recovery. While taking either approach to your recovery process isn’t necessarily bad and can be full of valuable steps, a passive approach can make your recovery journey more susceptible to being derailed.

 Let’s look at what active and passive recovery looks like, and why it’s valuable to take an active approach to recovery.


What is Passive Recovery?

 Simply put, a passive recovery approach is just going with the motions of recovery, whether it be in a rehab program or an Alcoholics Anonymous group. A passive recovery approach is built around just doing simply what you are told to do to create habits that lead to sober living. This approach can look like going to the programs, the counseling sessions, and all the meetings, yet, remaining complacent in your approach. Often passivity is rooted in a mindset that you can beat addiction on your own, instead of seeking the resources available to you in your recovery. In simple terms, passive recovery is complacency and just doing what you feel you have to in recovery. While on the surface, you may be checking all the boxes of your recovery program, you may find that on a deeper level you’ve made little progress.

 A passive approach to recovery can make any program ineffective in the long run. If you find yourself questioning the effectivity of the steps you have been taking in recovery, it may be valuable to assess if you have had a passive approach towards recovery. It is important to continually diagnose your approach to recovery, as complacency can easily derail any progress you have made. Passivity will often make it feel like you have been running in circles once you get further down the recovery path. A passive approach will only take you back to square one, real progress can be made once you take an active approach to your recovery. Let’s analyze what exactly an active approach to recovery can look like.


What is Active Recovery?

 If passive recovery is complacency, then what is active recovery? On the surface, active recovery can look like passive recovery. It can be going to all the meetings, sessions, and checking all the boxes of your recovery program. However, the difference with active recovery is taking an approach that admits you cannot do it all on your own. Accepting that you need support in your recovery battle can be the first step to success in recovery. Admitting that you need help can create an approach of wanting to improve, not just staying in the same place. Active recovery creates a process in which you feel like you are taking strides towards sobriety. An active approach forces you to face the hardships that lead to change. However, taking this approach will mean that you are not facing this battle alone. Changing your recovery to an active one can help lead to a recovery that you can start to see victories in. Shifting yourself to take an active approach is easier said than done and will take time and effort. Yet, it is important to remember that sobriety is not attainable without time and effort. Active recovery can lead to more tangible victories and can put one on a path to sobriety.


How can I take a more active approach to my recovery?

 Taking an active approach to recovery can be a valuable approach to achieving your goals in recovery. However, if you have been taking a more passive approach during your time in recovery it is hard to know how to shift to a more active approach.

 The most valuable shift you can make is accepting that sobriety cannot be attained on your terms. Accepting you need help is the first step to taking an active approach. Another way to start taking a more active approach is by believing that you can recover, and more importantly that you can live a sober life. Your mentality towards recovery will define whether you have a more passive approach to recovery or a more active one. Taking a positive first step will help ensure greater success in your recovery and allow to feel free from running in circles.

 Regardless, of the approach you have taken before in your recovery journey, it is important to admit that you can’t do this alone and that you need help. Seeking help can be life-changing and take you one step closer to living a happy, sober life.