What Is Conscious Recovery in Addiction?

What Is Conscious Recovery in Addiction?

To recover from substance use disorder (SUD), professional treatment is required. Individuals must find the motivation to change within themselves. This helps them make a commitment to lifelong recovery. For those who have not yet gone through treatment, there are some important things to know that may help you take on that challenge.

Contrary to popular belief, treatment is about more than just helping people become abstinent from alcohol and other drugs. While sobriety is the main goal of treatment, the process of recovery requires you to address and overcome any barriers that may hinder your ability to maintain sobriety.

Understandably, many people may perceive treatment as a chore, something that they are forced to participate in. However, more often than not, treatment centers make the journey of treatment and recovery an incredible opportunity for growth. Every treatment program addresses treatment differently. It is important to understand your treatment options before making a commitment.

Discerning Your Treatment Options in Addiction Recovery

If you are hesitant about going to treatment, ask yourself why. Most people do not understand the full extent of what treatment entails. Further, many people make their assumptions about treatment based on how it is portrayed in the news, in movies or through the experiences of loved ones. Before you shut yourself off from the possibility of this new chapter in your life, know that everyone’s treatment experience is different. In the same sense, know that treatment in real life is vastly different from how it is portrayed in movies.

Every facility offers unique treatment programs, options and therapeutic approaches. Some treatment centers utilize one specific program lens. While that one method may work for many people, it may not be the most effective treatment route for others. Treatment must be individualized to fit the needs and goals of each individual that is seeking recovery.

Fortunately, there are a number of treatment centers that do not take on a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. One particularly new, yet valuable treatment philosophy you may want to consider is known as conscious recovery.

The Conscious Recovery Difference

Something that can be particularly daunting about the thought of treatment is the idea that you will be labeled by your diagnosis or problem. Luckily, the conversation about addiction and treatment is changing in this respect.

Conscious recovery is a groundbreaking approach to viewing and treating addiction. Contrary to other treatment approaches, this approach emphasizes that you are a whole and perfect spiritual being. Rather than being identified as a problem that needs to be fixed, conscious recovery honors that you are not broken.

TJ Woodward, the creator of conscious recovery and its curriculum, knows both addiction and addiction treatment have always been put in a negative light. He realized that the language we use to talk about these topics matters. In light of this knowledge, he became passionate about changing the tone of the conversation around SUD to help individuals finally feel comfortable seeking help for their struggles. Thus, conscious recovery was born.

The Core Principles of Conscious Recovery

Conscious recovery is built upon five core principles, which are:

  1. Underneath all addictive behavior lies a whole, perfect and essential self
  2. Addiction is not a problem that needs solving, rather it is a strategy that lost its effectiveness
  3. Treatment must address the underlying causes of destructive behavior, not just problematic symptoms
  4. The root causes of addictive behavior include trauma, spiritual disconnection and toxic shame
  5. Permanent freedom from addiction can be obtained through the adoption and recurrent use of spiritual practices

Spiritual Awakening in Addiction Recovery

Spirituality is becoming an increasingly important component of recovery from SUD for a variety of reasons. First, it is normal for individuals who struggle with substance use to view themselves as imperfect and flawed human beings. However, this mindset can perpetuate substance use. In recovery, these individuals must challenge these maladaptive thought patterns to help them find the motivation to secure lasting recovery.

Conscious recovery helps initiate this spiritual awakening through a guided curriculum. It helps individuals to deepen their understanding and perspective about recovery, but also about themselves. A spiritual awakening is not just a one-time epiphany. With conscious recovery, a spiritual awakening is meant to facilitate long-lasting changes that help individuals maintain abstinence for a lifetime.

Will I benefit from the conscious recovery approach in my treatment program?

This information only scratches the surface of all that conscious recovery entails. If what you’ve read so far interests you, you may be wondering if and how you can benefit from this approach. Luckily, many treatment facilities can incorporate this approach into individualized treatment. As such, the treatment facility can adjust your treatment plan as necessary with conscious recovery principles in mind.

Conscious recovery aims to meet everyone where they are at during their recovery journey. You do not have to be a spiritual guru in order to reap the benefits of this approach. Patients from any level of care can be a part of this curriculum so long as there are professionals who are trained in this method available at your treatment center. If you are interested in learning more, contact your local treatment facility today.

Casa Palmera is a mental health and addiction treatment center that believes in the value of conscious recovery. Conscious recovery is an up-and-coming treatment approach that emphasizes spiritual connection, which is essential for lasting recovery. To learn more about our treatment programs and options, give us a call today at (855) 508-0473.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.