Whenever you try to make a change in your life, whether it’s switching jobs, getting in shape, or recovering from addiction, you’re faced with two competing motivations. On one hand, you want your life to improve in some way. You want to make more money, have more energy, or put an end to your self-destructive behavior. On the other hand, whatever you’re doing now is familiar and comfortable. You’re already reasonably good at it. Trying something new exposes you to unknown dangers. There’s always a chance you will fail and look foolish while doing it.
We feel this resistance to change, sometimes literally, in our bones. Many people feel bone aches while withdrawing from opioids. If you’re trying to get fit, you will likely feel some creaking in your joints as you get used to the workload. Change can be uncomfortable physically as well as psychologically. When you try to recover from addiction, you psychologically crave the comfort of drugs and alcohol and also your body has adapted itself to function in the presence of those substances. Quitting means your body has to begin the slow process of changing back again.
Perhaps even more difficult, making a change in your life changes how you see yourself; it affects your sense of identity. For example, if drugs and alcohol have always been a way for you to find group acceptance and have fun, quitting is not just a process of mental and physical adaptation but actually letting go of what you see as one of your defining characteristics. If you’ve always been out of shape, it can be hard to start thinking of yourself as a fit person. If you’ve had problems with fit people in the past–perhaps you were bullied by athletes in school or something–you may feel conflicted about getting in shape, fearing you’ll become like them.
Overcoming the Resistance
Although change is uncomfortable on several levels, if you believe a change is worthwhile, it’s important to keep working on it. For one thing, change is inevitable. Our cells are being replaced constantly and our opinions and knowledge change with every new experience. You can’t stop change from happening so you might as well guide it in the direction you want it to go.
Second, just because change is uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s bad. Almost everything we now do easily and take for granted was uncomfortable at some point–walking, talking, reading, writing, driving, and thousands of other things we now do automatically. Humans are incredibly adaptable and a new habit typically becomes comfortable in a couple of months. In the meantime, try connecting the change you are trying to make to deeply held values. For example, maybe you want to quit drinking for the benefit of your family. Focusing on that can get you through the rough transition period, allowing you to make positive change.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon.
To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138