June 6, 2021
Addictions come in all shapes and sizes. There you are: fully present, fully engaged with the sensations induced by the addictive substance or behavior. That may be what it’s all about. The present involves pain, vulnerability. Why not make yourself unavailable emotionally by fully engaging your senses elsewhere? Such a simple solution. Abandon the weakened self, the self that is injured, wounded. Choose avoidance.
There is a limit to avoidance, however. A threshold. A tolerance that builds. It’s like your personal highway has been washed away, and instead of rebuilding it, you choose to go on foot up the mountain. The trails have long disappeared. The thorns poke, the fear of wildlife looms as the sun darkens. Sure, you might arrive at your destination in due time, but at what cost? You’re disheveled, tired, and you still have a broken road to rebuild. This road is integral to your daily commute. It gets you from the subconscious to the conscious. You must rebuild it. What is required to succeed? Money, time, and most importantly, community. You cannot rebuild alone. This is often overlooked in successful recovery. You need people from all walks of life in your recovery journey. You cannot only employ people who have also had their own roads washed away by the forces of life. You need people who walk normal and healthy roads every day to consult you. You need infrastructure specialists to show you what may have gone wrong with the road you’d tried so hard to build on your own. You need people to encourage you when it gets hard, when the rain comes again in the middle of your rebuild. Then, once the sun has been out for a while, once all support services have done their jobs, you have a new road to walk. But, you must cross it alone.
You must trust that this road will support you. That may be the most difficult challenge of all for recovering addicts, for those who’ve nearly died, for those that have seen unspeakable tragedies and suffered unimaginable losses: having the courage to put one foot in front of the other once the dust of the rebuild has settled.