Precovery – Where Do You Stand?

Stages of a Relapse
June 15, 2016
Moving in Sobriety – Again!
June 26, 2016

Precovery – Where Do You Stand?

There may come a moment in your addiction where you come to a crossroads and for the first time in a long time, you are able to see just how negatively your addiction has impacted your life. You may even realize that you can no longer run from the decisions you have made, but the rationalization of your behavior while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be doing more harm than good. On the other hand, this internal conflict and struggle to regain control can be what ignites the idea of seeking help and sobriety. In the end, this is the only option that will ensure renewed physical and mental health while providing you the ability to mend and rebuild relationships that were destroyed while you were using.

While these thoughts can furnish the much needed motivation and desire to get help, there is a fine line that you must acknowledge in regards to searching for recovery versus seeking recovery. While abusing substances, thoughts of quitting may cross your mind and then the idea of getting clean fades and even if these thoughts lie on forefront, you must decide whether you will act on them and take the necessary steps required to get sober, or if you will continue to contemplate the idea of sobriety while continuing on in your addiction.

Where Does the “Searching versus Seeking” Behavior Begin in Recovery?

One of the biggest mysteries of recovery is how and when an addict chooses to undertake the journey to sobriety in earnest. Despite what some may believe, recovery begins long before you choose to check into a drug and alcohol rehab. As mentioned in the introduction of this post, the beginning of your recovery begins with the growing internal dialogue you have regarding your substance abuse and the impact it has had on you, your life, and the people around you. This phenomenon, known as precovery or recovery priming, was devised by psychologist William White and it describes the affray an addict experiences from within.

White explains this process as the following:

Precovery involves several simultaneous processes: physical depletion of the drug’s once esteemed value, cognitive disillusionment with the using lifestyle )a “crystallization of discontent” resulting from a pro/con analysis of “the life”), growing emotional distress and self-repugnance, spiritual hunger for greater meaning and purpose in life, breakthroughs in perception of self and world, and (perhaps most catalytic in terms of reaching the recovery initiation tipping point) exposure to recovery carriers – people who offer living proof of the potential for a meaningful life in long-term recovery. These precovery processes reflect a combustive collision between pain and hope.”

White’s explanation of the searching versus seeking conduct of precovery essentially states that the precovery process is one where the addict comes to terms with the pain, frustration, and destruction that drugs and or alcohol brings. This realization is paired with the weariness of living the “addict lifestyle” and longs for happiness and fulfillment without the use of substances.

Are You Caught in the Middle?

If you find yourself caught in the middle of searching for recovery and genuinely seeking recovery, you must take the time for a significant and candid reflection. As you delve deeper, consider your history of substance abuse and how it has affected your life and those involved with you, amongst other tough questions. To make the process a little easier, you can utilize the following question to help guide your reflection:

  • Are you truly happy, in every aspect, when using or are you hiding from something?
  • How has your addiction negatively impacted your life?
  • What have you lost as a result of substance abuse?
  • What path will you find yourself on if you continue to use?
  • How do you truly view yourself in relation to your addiction?
  • How do other perceive you in relation to your addiction?
  • Will you reach your full potential in life if you continue using?
  • In what ways would your life improve if you were to quit using?
  • What is it that you truly desire in life?

Asking yourself these question and answering them honestly is a difficult task. While the answers you come up with may be painful and or negative, it can help you transition from searching for treatment to truly seeking treatment. In reality, the searching versus seeking phase of recovery can manifest over a period of weeks, months, years and even decades. While there is no set time for precovery to begin and or unfold into the action of getting help, it is vital that this process happens naturally and on your own time. The commitment you’ll make to recovery and sobriety must be absolute, and if you are unable to answer to yourself for your actions and behavior in an honest fashion, then you will find it hard to experience a meaningful, long-term recovery.

This weeks blog post is from – Feel free to view their site and blog. 


  1. Nancy- thank you. I did have ‘that moment’ a few times. One time was when I witnessed my sister react to news about the family. I won’t go into those details but I saw her break down with a phone call. I was sober a few years then. And I couldn’t help thing about how many times I’ve been on the ‘other side’ of that phone call. How I’ve been the creator of chaos and turmoil. For all the times I’ve been on the ‘other side’ of that phone call, I never took the time to realize the damage I was doing. It’s just untrue anyone who says that they’re drinking only hurt themselves. That’s bullshit. Thanks for the reminder! Really got me going today. Going to happily share this one!

    • admin says:

      So glad you like this one! It was written by Ocean Breeze Recovery – a great blog/recovery site for a Treatment Center in Florida 🙂

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