The Frustrations of Recovery

Most people who suffer from addiction want to break the chains that bind them.  On some level, they recognize that their addiction hurts not only them but other people, such as family and friends.  They may even have tried once or many times to stop their addictive behavior.  Naturally, there are people who enjoy the impact of drugs on their lives, but most victims of addiction want something more for themselves.  This does not only apply to those who, in the terms of 12 Step programs, have ‘hit bottom’.  It can also apply to those who realize that their behavior brings suffering into the lives of people they care about.

The problem is that breaking the chains of addiction can be terribly difficult.  Drug addiction has not only a physical element but also of psychological or social aspect.  Addictive drugs interact with brain chemistry in ways that make it difficult to terminate use of the drug.  The decision to use mind-altering drugs is often a response to some kind of mental or emotional disorder or to difficulty in dealing with social situations.  Indeed, the decision to use drugs may be caused by mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.  For other people, the decision to use drugs is based upon an inability to manage social situations.  That is, people choose to use drugs because they are suffering from emotional pain or because they don’t know how to deal with others when they are not high.

This is the source of the frustration of recovery.  Just as one is dealing with the physical pain of coming off of drugs, one is hit with emotional pain or social anxiety.  It’s a double whammy, as they say.  The pain of terminating drug use is complicated by the reappearance of the initial reason for the decision to use drugs.  The more one breaks the pain of physical addiction, the more they are forced to deal with the suffering that they used drugs to treat.

Where does one get the strength to deal with all of this at once?  The support of family and friends is helpful.  Professional treatment may also be needed and helpful.  Participation in self-help groups can be very beneficial.  We can’t forget, however, that our God loves us beyond our wildest dreams, more than we can even begin to imagine.  God’s help and His grace will give us the strength we need to break the chains of addiction and seek help for the other hurting parts of our life.

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