Addiction Options: Struggling. Suffering & Surrendering

In truth these are not three options but only two – struggling is either transformative in nature or it leads to suffering. For the addicted, our struggles simply are not manageable. It’s not just our way of doing things – it’s our way of being that’s intrinsically flawed.

In startling moments of lucidity our choices become clear – surrender our addiction and our will to a Higher Power or choose to continue getting the same results in the midst of a downward spiral. Nothing could be easier to understand and nothing could be harder to do.

It’s not about finding God per se. It’s about facing yourself and choosing to believe in a program that works. If Nature works for you, great! Do what Nature does– not what comes naturally to you. Nature dictates evolving and adapting. It demands that we live in balanced and sustainable ways. It’s the purest form of cause and effect – natural consequences are a product of our choices.

There are no more highly motivated people than those active in addiction. If there were another option, if there were some way of having a life while active in addiction, we’d have found it a long time ago. We go looking for the “softer, gentler way” and we hit the pavement face first every time. Only when we have suffered sufficiently will we open our eyes.

We favor our illusions and believe that as long as we keep not consciously choosing continued use or abstinence that we’re truly making a choice. In reality, we’re making it by default.

“You can choose a ready guide or some celestial voice. If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.” – Rush “Freewill”

Addiction robs our freewill. It’s true that we choose to continue using/drinking but progressively it is not us who makes choices but rather our addiction. The disease progressively takes over and compels us. Bit by bit, we lose sight of our options.

We say we need time to think. We try to “figure it out. “ Our half assed analysis (intellectual avoidance) dictates that everything is complicated, overwhelmingly difficult, and that the “answers” are beyond us. In this way we choose by to stay with the familiar and to struggle (suffer) alone.  

The road out of addiction begins with accountability and responsibility. We start with an admission of powerlessness –  that we cannot be in control of ourselves when we use drugs or alcohol. We choose abstinence as a means of ceasing destruction and we start taking steps toward sanity. Our plans evolve  because we involve those further along in the journey.

Getting clean and sober is one of the hardest things a human being can do. It’s a choice we make over and over again for 24 hours at a time. Nothing complicated, nothing to analyze, just one day at a time we choose things worth struggling with.

 “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in assisting people in recovery (whether from drugs, alcohol, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.