One of the greatest challenges we face as a human beings is the recognition that everything around us is in a constant state of change. The tendency to push back against that change, rather than embracing and accepting it, can be the most tumultuous obstacle to our freedom and happiness. Pushing against change can mean falling into addiction.
When we fight against something, we often end up hurting ourselves. If you’ve ever been caught in a strong ocean current or started to fall on a rocky path, you understand why fighting the current or fighting gravity is going to end up in potential injury. Whereas letting the tide take us for a moment, so we can get free, or relaxing into a fall before catching ourselves, will likely not.
Addiction is the ultimate push back. When things get hard or we feel fearful, panicked, or hurt, we often want to hide. Releasing ourselves from that momentary pain might feel like the right thing to do, but the reality is, the challenges we’re confronted with won’t go away with a pill, a toke, or a drink. In fact, on the rebound, we might even make things worse for ourselves and others around us.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn
Learning how to relax into the current or go with the fall is going to change the odds of injury and survival. When it comes to recovery from addiction, that translates into developing the tools to embrace and accept your unwanted feelings, recognizing they are not going to leave you, but only diminish and become more manageable. Once you can release that narrative—and the worry that your pain will resurface—you will recognize the options and opportunities around you. On the other side of your worst feelings is an invitation to understand your deepest values.
Many paths to overcome addiction
Over time, addiction requires (and sometimes forces) us to look at what we need to learn in order to mature and thrive. With new relationships, the disorienting pain and shame filled patterns of those lost in the hell of active addiction may be slowed down and understood, maybe even transformed into roadmaps and a life more often worth living. Recovery from addiction has many paths, it can be a little overwhelming. Our hope is one is found toward a clearing with more freedom to live without addiction dominating our lives.
An addiction treatment plan will depend upon the frequency, intensity, and duration of the mood-altering substance/behavior and its consequences in your life. The variation of addiction severity and health problems requires a continuum of care ranging from a hospital setting to inpatient rehab to outpatient group therapy. Different recovery paths also have different communities for support like SMART Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, or Refuge Recovery.
The journey to addiction recovery begins with small steps
You may find differing philosophies, values, and suggestions for addiction recovery. This can feel confusing. In addition to working with a physician, psychiatrist, and other health professionals, we have found it useful to experiment with addiction support groups for a time. This will allow you to find what is most useful in a community-setting and has the potential to invite the most stability into your life. If you are not sure how to proceed, it may be wise to ask for help from a professional or person who is walking the path of addiction recovery.
At Kaizen Center for Mental Health, we will support you in developing the addiction support tools to take back your power. Chase Wickersham, LCSW, has written about his own addiction recovery journey in two blog posts—Why Practice Acceptance, Parts 1 & 2.
To get started on your journey to overcome addiction, request an appointment. Our team of experts are here to help you.