March 22, 2016

Recovery, it’s personal

Recovery Is Personal - 100PedalsLately I have been reading a great deal of social media interaction about what defines recovery from addiction. It appears that there are a lot of passionate opinions about a very personal process.  As an individual in his own recovery from my issues with alcohol and the parent of a child dealing with a heroin addiction, I have participated in this issue from both sides.

Recovery, the outcome, the result, and the process are really a matter of personal choice. It cannot be governed by someone else’s defined rules. There are programs, methodologies, and processes with extensive historical and popularized successes.  There are also innovative approaches and philosophies that appear controversial, risky or complicated.  Each of the aforementioned programs can and do lay claim to extensive and demonstrated successes and accomplishments.  They all work and they all don’t work.

If there was a one-size fits all methodology, this conversation would be moot.  Truth is recovery is not an exact science and there are multiple roads to success and accomplishment; including how someone defines their recovery.

Recovery is a complex, maddening and confusing process.  It is filled with starts and stops, successes and failures, including many trials and errors.  Some people’s definition of recovery is to be completely substance free; while others are seeking to define recovery as finally breaking free of their drug of choice.  It is complicated.  It is also very personal.

Who am I to tell someone else what their recovery should be or how they must define it? I know what works for me and that is what I embrace.  If someone wishes to know what I believe works best, I will be happy to share the experiences and joy in my process and approach.  That is as far as I will go.  I am not willing to define, judge, or critique someone else’s definition of recovery, or the process used to get there.  That part is personal.

I would, however, encourage every person who is battling an addiction, including loved ones who are battling the issues of co-dependency or enabling, to take time to define what your life in recovery looks like. Before tackling any program, have a clear vision of what you want your recovered life to look like.  Work on that vision to the point where you can articulate an image of being in that place and what is present and what is absent from your life. In that place of vision and clarity you will be in a more empowered place to define your recovery program and what the process needs to be.

Recovery is personal.  How you get to the desired outcome for your life is up to you. You can’t know what path to take without a strong sense of what the finish line looks like. Make a commitment to the life you desire.  Make a commitment to the program that you believe best drives you to that outcome.

Whatever program or outcome you embrace, the real work and the process is yours to take on. It’s your life, your program, and your responsibility.  Make a commitment to the outcome.  Never give up on the mission, the vision, the objective. It is that focused commitment to the outcome drives you to accomplishment, not the program you choose or someone else’s definition of recovery.  Remember, recovery is personal and it’s your program.  Get busy!


Is your child addicted to drugs or alcohol? Are you trapped on the emotional roller coaster of addiction? Dave Cooke is an internationally recognized speaker who has made it his commitment to minister to parents struggling with addiction in their families. His powerfully insightful, faith based approach to the challenges of addiction have inspired and educated thousands across the country.

Contact Dave today to book him to speak at your church, parent’s group, business organization, or neighborhood association. Go to for more information or email

Dave is riding his bicycle across the country in the Summer of 2016. The mission of this trip is to bring healing to families suffering from the addiction of a loved while moving the addiction conversation out into the open where it belongs. Dave may be coming through your city and would love to speak at your local group.  To learn more about this bicycling mission and discover how you can connect with Dave on this trip go to

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.