In a funny way, drug addicts and alcoholics are some of the luckiest people around. Addiction brings only pain – but that pain, through the recovery process, sometimes births true self knowledge and the courage to truly live.
The considered life is a happy life. Living a considered life means appreciating life, and working towards a life you appreciate – and although conceptually simple, it’s a rare thing. It takes understanding and courage, and it takes effort.
Most of us live reactionary lives – Frenzied, busy lives; stuck on our paths, too busy or scared to think about change. The addicted life epitomizes reactionary living. It’s an extreme knee-jerk case, and so it brings us deep unhappiness. Some of us, when it gets bad enough, take a courageous step and get some help. We don’t know what we need, but we know that we’ve got isn’t it. We walk into that meeting or that hospital, yearning for change, and ready to listen. And if we do listen, we are taught the most important truths of all.
Addiction Treatment – Self-Knowledge, Courage and Spirituality
Addiction treatment, at its best, teaches us real personal honesty, it demands true courage, and it prompts emotional and spiritual growth. Teaching us who we are and what we want – and how to get there. Teaching us that change takes courage and determination, but that the rewards can be great, and teaching that however we define it, that we all exist within the spiritual realm, in part, and through spiritual self-knowledge comes peace.
We walk into treatment to learn how to live right, and we walk out having learned how to live happy. And that’s why we are so lucky to be drunks or junkies or what-have-you, because we are given a golden opportunity. Someone is going to show us the secret to happiness and unlike most people at most points in their lives – we are ready to listen!
Addiction Treatment and the Secret to Happiness
We would all like to leave this earth having few regrets, having no thoughts of time wasted and happiness squandered. Yet few of us are willing to look seriously at what makes us happy, and even fewer have the courage to strive towards happiness in life.
And that’s because it’s hard!
Some of us periodically consider our happiness, deeply; but it takes real effort to make the kind of changes that are needed to live an honest and considered life – and since life as we know it already demands so much from us, few of us can spare the time.
Addicts in recovery are given the time, in fact they are often pushed into the process. Not many are given a month or two to work on emotional growth, free from other responsibility or worry – addicts in recovery are given a gift.
Reactionary living has us blame other people and other things for how we feel and how we act. How we feel actually comes from inside, and so when we feel bad and we react against the world, we never change the source of our true discontentment.
Considered living has us recognize that we control how we act, and to a large extent, how we feel. When we feel bad, we recognize the discontent as internal, and take steps that will change how we feel, and will lead to greater happiness.
But to live this honest and considered life, we need to have an honest understanding of our strengths, and more importantly, of our weaknesses. Addiction treatment demands that we look at ourselves through new, and less distorted lenses. Something is clearly wrong, and we need to figure out how we are contributing to the problem – and whether it is through the 12 steps, and a personal inventory, group therapy or individual therapy; a large part of any addiction treatment is focused on gaining self awareness.
It’s often painful, and sometimes when we get to know ourselves a little bit better we don’t much like whom we meet, but it’s necessary, and once we gain a better understanding of our natures, we are granted the opportunity to improve ourselves.
We are brave to varying degrees, but courage takes practice and determination, and it’s something you can get better at.
- It takes a great deal of courage to admit that you have a problem – that you are powerless to control yourself, and to reach out for help. It’s a very tough thing for most of us to do.
- It takes courage to make amends. To approach people you have wronged and to try to make things right, knowing that some of them are justifiably angry with you, and not knowing what to expect.
- It takes courage to look at yourself warts and all, and to reveal your true nature to others.
Recovery is a succession of steps, all requiring courage – and the funny thing is, after a while it makes us courageous!
The considered life takes courage too. There is no sense in knowing yourself and understanding what makes you happy, if you don’t have the courage to make changes. Quitting a job that makes you miserable takes courage, finding real love takes courage; living as you are and not how others say you should be – takes courage.
Living the life you want on your terms is the only kind of life that makes any sense, but so many never do. Through recovery we find the courage to change.
We exist in the mind and in the body. Yet there’s more, we exist also on a spiritual plane – but figuring out this third part of our being takes a little effort.
Spirituality can mean religion or it can mean God, but it doesn’t have to – and many self professed religious people aren’t all that spiritual. Spirituality can be understood as an experience and understanding of our place in this greater universe.
At a very basic level, the interaction of body and mind together creates something larger than the sum of its parts. And learning to appreciate and understand the body-mind effect can lead to a greater understanding of our existence on a more metaphysical plane. Recovery activities like meditation or yoga attune us to this interplay. In many recovery programs, we go searching for God – or at least, God as we understand Him, as well.
And finding something larger than yourself, with the power to help you, can bring a lot of peace. We are spiritual beings. Humanity and the human experience has always been an oscillating quest for pleasure, power or spirituality. However you define it – spirituality is real, and coming to understand how you fit in the universe inures you from a lot of the inconsequential unhappiness’s of the unconsidered life.
Recovery Is for Life – and or Happiness
We create so much pain while using or drinking, that it hardly seems fair that we are also granted this opportunity for such lasting peace and happiness. But we are and we should be grateful and seize this opportunity – make up for time wasted and live a life that will leave no regrets.