Addiction: The Hardest Thing About Recovery

Addiction_The Hardest Thing About Recovery

Starting, not Quitting is the Hardest Thing About Recovery.


How has addiction impacted you and your family?

For me, it is easy to say that my father drank heavily and that I consider him an addict. It is easy to point a finger about his drinking, his anger, his abuse.

An Addiction to Easy?

I am not an alcoholic and for years I hated the stuff. I judged others who drank and distanced myself from it, and from them. The categories of bad and good, black and white were part of my own addiction, but I did not see it.

It is easy to blame another person for their addiction and how it impacts you. I did that with my father. But I was not free.

Button Poetry/Youtube

Our homes each exploded…” J. Scott Brownlee

My home exploded. Not my literal home, but who I was inside. I responded to my childhood pain by succumbing to my own addiction.

My addiction was to chemicals, the chemicals of behavior. I get high when I binge eat, over-exercise, become enamored with flattery, or play the hero.

My addiction was to chemicals, the chemicals of behavior. I get high when I binge eat, over-exercise, fixate on technology, become enamored with flattery, or play the hero. It is especially good when I can do all four at once.

Reclaiming Recovery 

Recovery means getting back what was lost and reclaiming who you are. It also means reupholstering your old furniture (to re-cover).

Hello, My name is Sean, I am in reupholstery. 

Don’t know about you, but I prefer the first definition.

What does Recovery Mean to You?

For me, recovery means a lot of things, and only one thing:

  • Going back to love, back to quiet, back to passion and art.
  • Opening up and being vulnerable.
  • Leading with a limp, and trust me, that is damned hard.
  • Going slow, which is frustrating.
  • Saying that I am sorry, but not just because you are an apologetic Canadian.
  • Meditation: beginning, middling and ending with silence.
  • Tears.
  • De-complicating things, which is deceptively hard.

The Only Thing We Need for Recovery

Mess and complexity is one of the most common ways that you and I live in denial and resist change. 

Think about that one. By mess, I don’t mean hoarding, because that is obvious. Personal mess and chaos is a great way to bury things.

I do that by having stacks of books, stacks of paper, stacks of goals and stacks of food. Other ways that we bury is by filling our minds with infatuation or endless talk or gossip or busy work or crisis.

Then you and I are just too busy to change. I admit that rather than change, I buy more books, get more stuff, and look for a bigger home. We give away our life in exchange for stuff.

Pills don’t ease our complexity, pills just add more chemicals. Chemical complexity will keep you and I lost in our behavior.

We make things complex and our minds become filled with anxiety. Then we take Wellbutrin.

Pills don’t ease our complexity, pills just add more chemicals. (Sometimes pills are important and sometimes they are a distraction). Chemical complexity will keep you and I lost in our behavior.

Recovery needs to be simple if it is going to work. For a little more on this, see Addiction: A Simple Path.

Recovery is one thing: Love. Love for myself. Love for my family. Love for my friends. Love for God. Love is not good feelings, happiness, cooperation or passion. Love is the hard work of honesty, trust, helping and asking.

Recovery: A Call to Action

Love: It’s just four letters and it is as easy to say as any other four letter word: Da*mn, Sh*it or Fu*ck.

Talking love is the same thing as saying any other four letter word. Doing love and being loved will change you. That is damned hard. But that is recovery.

I’ve conquered my past
The future is here at last
I stand at the entrance to a new world I can see.
The ruins to the right of me
Will soon have lost sight of me.
Love, rescue me.


Keep It Real


For more on my Addiction series, sign up for my blog. You will get nothing but good writing from me. For archived content, type Addiction in the search box.  You can also find me at The Good Men Project.

Sorry to Break it to You

Photo by Daniel Horatio Augustini

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