Anyone who has lived with addiction knows how desperately damaging it can be physically and psychologically.
Causing chaos not only for the addict — but also for family, friends and colleagues — it can become a soul-destroying slow journey to death.
So can anything beneficial transpire from addiction? Can you take strength from overcoming addiction?
The answers are a resounding “yes!” The power created by overcoming addiction can wind up illuminating many parts of your life.
Turning the negative into a positive
The physical and psychological compulsion to abuse any substance will lead into a downward spiral of negative thinking and abusive behaviours. Obsession, denial and justification are just some of the elements that are used negatively in mental and physical disorders. Yet they can be turned into affirmative skills that can help in overcoming addiction and enhance every aspect of life.
When it comes to addiction, so many give up and give in. So, if you are able to acknowledge your dependency and are in recovery, whatever stage that may be, then congratulations. The fact that you are still alive reveals your level of determination. Yet this spirit of endurance stems from the negative obsessive mindset that keeps addicts trapped in the ritual of seeking and obtaining their fix.
Obsession controls your mind, body and soul in the preoccupation of addiction, but it is possible to use that same energy and perseverance to purposefully and actively pursue emotional and physical restoration.
Denial is an extremely powerful thought process that attempts to discount the seriousness and impact of behavior. It also serves to minimize the need for accountability and transfers blame onto others. Obviously it is important to focus on detrimental aspects of addiction but not from a place of shame, rather from a place of acceptance and transparency. For as with every negative element, there is a positive side that can be accessed.
The benefit of undergoing the process to explore and confront denial is that opposite traits can be exposed. Turn all the aspects of denial around and the mind can be transformed into a positive arena of honesty, responsibility and respectability. So be encouraged, over time a new way of thinking can be learned and as the thoughts change for the good, so too will the behavior.
One way so many addicts remain trapped in a self-destructive cycle is through the use of justification. Blaming, excusing, numbing and deceiving are all used to convince the addict of their need to use and abuse. But just as the harmful aspects of obsession and denial can be converted beneficially, there is one outstanding quality of justification and that is creativity.
At some stage of an individual’s disorder there will be a need to disguise the extent of their dysfunction. Whether or not addicts want to end their dependency or not, most know what they are doing is damaging themselves and others. Addicts will go to extreme lengths to hide the truth, control their environment and manipulate others, and they are exceptionally creative in achieving this.
This resourcefulness and ingenuity can feed active compulsions, but while overcoming addiction, creativity is to be acclaimed and nurtured. Instead of being exploited to deceive and delude, these talents can be inspiring and productive on the journey to overcoming addiction.
Life can get better in recovery
Without treatment, the impact of addiction for all those involved can be devastating. But from experience, I know that admitting the problem and seeking help are the first steps to transforming a life of destruction into a life with purpose. Ultimately everyone has the potential to change their life for the better, but addicts have more motivation than most to make those changes extraordinary.