Living with addiction, many of us come to identify ourselves as being weak people, because we see our addictions as a reflection of our shame and immorality. We see ourselves as being too weak to withstand the temptation of our addictive urges and compulsions. When we’re working to recover, we start to see our addictions not as moral failings on our part but as severe illnesses that require intense healing to overthrow. It takes tremendous effort on our parts to interrupt the vicious, recurring cycles of our addictions and accompanying mental illnesses. When we’re in recovery, we start to see just how strong we actually are. If we’re able to kick our addictions, there isn’t much else we can’t do. How are we strengthened by our experience with addiction?
Addiction and mental health issues force us to confront ourselves and our inner demons head on. We have to face them directly if we’re to learn the lessons they’re meant to teach us. We can’t keep avoiding them if we intend to heal in any real way. Our addictions strengthen us by teaching us about ourselves and our emotional issues. We learn what stressors we’re most susceptible to, what things we’re most triggered by, and makes us react in certain ways. We learn the ways in which we’ve been contributing to our own unwellness, what coping mechanisms were actually self-harming, and which behaviors and patterns were self-destructive. We gain more clarity on our reasons for doing certain things, for behaving in the ways we’ve been behaving, for thinking and feeling the way we do. We start to tackle the unresolved issues and unhealed trauma that are at the root of our addictions and mental illnesses.
Because addiction is so overpowering and debilitating, we’re forced to face our issues eventually. Usually our lives have become unbearable, and we know we have to make changes if we want to survive. Addiction therefore serves as the wake-up call we needed to take our healing seriously. It is the warning sign that we have something deeper to heal from. It’s the eye-opener, the gateway to healing, and our catalyst for holistic transformation. Without our addictions serving these purposes in our lives, we may have continued to be subconsciously self-destructive and self-sabotaging. We might have continued to live lives that were unfulfilling for us, that we were unhappy with. Addiction forces us to get to know ourselves and connect with ourselves in deeper, more meaningful ways. In these and other ways, addiction actually serves to strengthen us.
Riverside Recovery believes in the importance of holistic healing and education, mindfulness and mind-body-spirit wellness. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on our treatment programs.