Abstaining from abusing drugs and alcohol is just one part of a long and complex process of recovery. By the time most people enter treatment, addiction has often taken over their entire lives. The compulsion of the user to experience the mind altering effects of drugs or alcohol consume every waking moment.
 
Addiction influences every experience with drug and alcohol use disrupting how a addicted person functions in their family, at work, and in the community. Substance use also exposes the user to other chronic and debilitating illnesses. In fact, drug and alcohol addiction negatively impacts so many aspects of family life that treatment must be holistic in order for healing to occur.
 
The chronic nature of the disease of addiction implies that relapse is not only possible, but highly likely. Statistically, the relapse rates for drug and alcohol addiction are similar to those of other chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, which also have physiological and behavioural components. Recovery from addiction involves change in deeply imbedded behaviours that require time and patience. Lasting recovery is the fruit of love and understanding.