Addiction Recovery: The Slow Fix
If you have an addiction, you have many good reasons to want to quickly have it dealt with and behind you so you can get on with life. This is understandable, as addictions exact a high – and ever increasing – cost from those that are addicted. However, this might not always be the best way.
How you cope
As I have discussed in a previous post, people use substances and behaviours to cope with difficult circumstances. Considered purely from the angle of effectiveness, these addictive substances can be very powerful – they work quickly and reliably to take away people’s distress, discomfort and pain. In fact, addictive substances are so effective that the things that other people use to manage their feelings of distress, discomfort and pain seem second rate by comparison – to the addict they seem weak, unreliable, to take forever and to be barely effective.
This expectation of quick fixes to emotional difficulties sets up its own problems for the recovering addict, who now feels he or she has little to help them through the difficult times to come. In contrast, the substance will help now. Under circumstances like these, it is no surprise that relapses are common.
The long road of recovery
If you are trying to deal with your addictions it usually takes a a while to really understand that the process of recovery is going to be a long one, that it is going to sometimes feel that nothing is happening, and that there may be relapses along the way. This is where a skilled psychotherapist can help. They will let you know that they understand that what you are doing is very hard, that you will find the pace of recovery maddeningly slow, and that despite how hard you are working relapses are common. If you do relapse they will not judge you. They will stick with you, willing to help you try again. They will help you learn and practice new coping strategies and slowly prove to you that the patient support of another person can be a an extremely powerful force for change.
– Tim Hill
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