We begin the journey of recovery because we want to be free – free from the unrelenting and all-encompassing cycle of obsession, compulsion, and regret. Finally, enough is enough. We decide that we have suffered enough emotional torment; we are truly sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are sick and tired of hurting our loved ones over and over and over. We are tired of waking up disappointed, wondering why we have to face another day of physical and mental agony. Why won’t God just spare us? When we are that deep in the rabbit hole, the prospect of recovery seems entirely unattainable. The effort it would take… where would we possibly find the energy? Our bones ache, every fiber of our crippled beings scream for rest. We just want it to stop. Death seems like the only viable way out. And that is the very epitome of imprisonment.
When death seems like the only viable way out, we know that we are no longer in control. We have completely lost ourselves to what it is that consumes us.
Freedom from Addiction
When it comes to addiction – whether it be behavioral or chemical – we are prisoners of obsessive thinking and compulsive self-destruction. At some point in time, we cross the invisible line from habit into necessity. Our brains trick us into believing that without the drink or the drug or the sex or the love, we will not survive. We become completely dependent upon whatever it is that we are addicted to, ignoring the accumulation of personal consequences and focusing only on obtaining our drug of choice. Regardless of what it is we are addicted to, we will inevitably lose the things we once held dear as our addiction consumes more and more of us. Our friends, our family members, our careers, our personal goals and aspirations. We will become slaves to the chemical or behavior, and all else will eventually (sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly), be lost. We may be aware of how much we are sacrificing, or we may stay hidden in a cloak of denial, ignorance, and self-deceit. We lose choice in the matter – we become completely powerless. We are being held hostage by our own minds.
Freedom from Past Trauma
Just like addiction, unresolved trauma imprisons us emotionally, disallowing us from moving forward, feeling whole, and finding ultimate contentment. We lose ourselves to our past harms. Any pre-existing sense of self-identity is ripped from us, and we become what it is that we cannot let go of – sell our souls to the pain that haunts us on a day-to-day basis. When we live our lives with unresolved trauma, we are disallowing ourselves from living life to the fullest. Our happiness is hindered, as are our interpersonal relationships. We may feel as if we are dragging around an old, emotional weight – one we can’t quite explain, maybe even one that we’ve gotten used to. Some of us may remain unaware that we bear such trauma, because it happened so long ago and it has become so familiar. Yet, we feel stuck. We feel as if something is holding us back from giving our all to… well, to anything, really. To relationships, to our career pursuits, to our hobbies and passions and everything that used to bring us joy.
Recovery is Worth It
When we are in the midst of unresolved trauma or active addiction, recovery seems like an unattainable ideal. The freedom that goes hand-in-hand with recovery is unfathomable. We see people smiling, laughing, and enjoying themselves, and we think to ourselves, “They must be faking it. There’s no way. No one is that happy.” The road to recovery is not an easy one, because we will be forced to face reality for the first time in quite awhile. We will have to take an honest look at where we are in life; the actions we have taken and the choices we have made. Before becoming aware of what needs to change, we may have had no choice in the matter. We may have been in denial or oblivious or completely and utterly powerless. Now that we know, we have a choice. We can choose recovery.
We choose to be happy.
We choose life.