Can I recover on my own?

Short Answer:Probably – if you're willing to spend 30-50 years living a monastic life of prayer and fasting.Long Answer:Up until the 20th century addictions were not considered to be an illness of the mind and body, they were seen as failures to surmount temptations. (See the blog: “Are Passions and Addictions the same thing?”)Thus, Patristic and monastic writings (the writings of the Fathers/saints of the Church and the records of life in various monasteries) before the 20th century did not address addictions differently from other temptations. As a result, Patristic writings are very helpful in their instructions on dealing with temptations and for living a Christian life, but not very helpful in dealing with addictions which have a biochemical/physical and emotional basis as well as a spiritual basis.If we look at the lives of the saints – many of whom struggled with what we can now recognize as addictions, though they refer to them as passions – without appropriate counseling, without an understanding of addictions as a biochemical problem rather than a failing, they struggled for decades to overcome their brain's desires. The shortest recovery in the lives of the saints is 7 years in a monastic setting. The next shortest is roughly 20 years and 30-50 is the common span of time for most recoveries.Monastic writings also record a number of failures to overcome addictions, so a monastic life is not a sure way of overcoming addictions.Living in the world does not mean that it is harder to overcome addictions. Monastic settings, because of their isolation, are fraught with opportunities for addictions to flourish.Without counseling, without knowledgeable supervision, recovery from addictions is very hard. However, through proper nutrition, appropriate counseling, and prayer and fasting, addictions can be recovered from. This means having someone knowledgeable to guide us in nutrition, someone knowledgeable guide us through the mental, emotional, and psychological hurdles of dealing with the causes of our addiction(s), and someone knowledgeable guide us through the spiritual methods of overcoming addictions.This does not mean that every individual needs to go into a residential treatment program. These are wonderful for a quick start but after 30 days or 60 or 90, everyone has to go back out into the world and needs tools to deal with all of the circumstances in life which will try to pull that individual back into an addicted life. This requires continuing counseling. With support for the biochemical aspects of addiction as well as emotional and spiritual support, recovery is possible in a much shorter time frame than 30-50 years.In every case, simply trying to deal with addictions in a lay setting through daily prayer and fasting is not going to be successful without knowledgeable counseling and treatment of the biochemical and emotional and spiritual aspects/causes of addictions.

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