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A Lesson in Conquering Addiction



Overcome and take control of (a place or people) by use of force

successfully overcome (a problem or weakness):

gain the love, admiration, or respect of (a person or group of people)

Addiction is often referred to as a problem meant to be conquered. It is a menace to society and even earned the title “public enemy number one.” Generally speaking, we still villainize substances in this country and blame chemicals and plants for a very human issue. It’s the equivalent of holding a basketball responsible for someone’s sports-betting addiction.  We put the majority of resources into reducing the supply of narcotics, and largely ignore the topic of demand.

This is not to suggest we should shift blame onto those addicted to substances, but rather, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves “why so many people want to stop feeling?”

The Task of Examining Addiction

This question must be asked with accurate empathy and a true desire to understand.  Addiction isn’t something to be conquered by force, but examined and embraced with love. When we seek to understand, rather than destroy, the answers appear.

Addiction can give us the GPS to our most cavernous wounds, but we must be willing to explore our deepest, most vulnerable selves. Many of us turn back, too afraid of the treasure that lies before us.

Our wounds are healers, masked as monsters, here to serve us…if we just trust the process. We must be willing to meet them with love, honesty and grace.

The problem is, we use fear to silence the demons in our mind, not meet them face to face. There is nothing braver than going within, leaving behind our armor of anger. It takes so much courage to stop fighting, ignoring and projecting all of our “stuff.” In this respect, fear is addiction’s greatest ally. It keeps us in a place of blame and victimization, and conjures up the illusion that force is the only way to survive.

Moving Beyond Fear

To avoid the paralyzing nature of fear we must first identify it, then become comfortable in its presence, and eventually, move beyond it. This process may be long and arduous or quick and effortless; it all depends on what is at stake and what we are willing to lose in the process. We can see fear as a marker that our journey has ended, and throw up our hands in surrender. We can identify it as a threat, and prepare for war. Or, we can simply embrace it and see fear for what it really is: the beginning of an epic adventure. We must remember, the fears we don’t face become our limits, and for some, they become our addictions.

When we take the road less traveled, the path most uncomfortable, we give others the courage and inspiration to stretch beyond their own limitations. When we become the heroes of our own story, we give others permission to do the same. Every action has a consequence, so we must decide to turn fear into inspiration, convert limits into opportunities and transmute hardships into triumphs.

Adversity is often the beginning of a life-changing journey. As Helen Keller stated:

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Miracle Moments

To conquer our fear not only honors our personal journey, but inspires others to do the same. Each moment we choose recovery over addiction is a miracle, and serves as an offering of hope for someone still suffering.

I once read that relationships don’t cause us pain and sadness, they simply expose the pain and sadness already within us. I believe addiction works the same way, and can reveal the path towards healing. Any trepidation you experience over getting sober, is equal to the exact level of joy you can expect to feel in recovery. The greater the fear, the greater the glory.


Images Courtesy of iStock

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