man looking in the distance

Long Winters Remind Us of Addiction

For thousands of years, and spanning throughout different cultures, the sun has been a symbol representative of rebirth, knowledge, and insight. It is no wonder that in its absence, individuals can be prone to feelings of depression, despair, apathy and indifference. There is no other season that exemplifies the potential for negative emotion better than winter. We need not look any further than the literal manifestation of this understanding which, in psychological terms, is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and which characterizes the proclivity for certain individuals to become depressed in times of minimal sunlight. Apathy and indifference are more easily shaken off if they are understood more fully. There is a level of seductiveness within apathy in the sense that it allows for our complacency to be conflated with comfort. We want to be comfortable, and as is generally the case, growth requires action, and action is the enemy of complacency. The point here is that, while in recovery, we cannot afford to become lazy and disinterested in our journey out of the depths of hell because, “apathy is the glove into which the devil slips his hand”.

To put the problem of apathy back in the context of winter, winter does have a quality that allows some breathing room, and that quality is the fact that it is finite. Winter has a specific end date where the days become longer, and we are blessed with more sunlight. Part of what allows us to forge through the difficulties of winter is the expectation that it will end! During certain in our recovery processes, however, the proverbial winter seasons seems as though it will continue on and on without end. We have all been to that place of frustration, impatience, laziness, and disconnection, and there are times where a frigid and desolate landscape is all that we are able to see. This is arguably the most crucial time that we need to apply the newfound skills, perspectives, attitudes and principles we have harvested in recovery. Looking through a more optimistic lens, we could argue that while winter has a definite end every year, we can actually expedite the ending of this figurative “winter” by taking control of the things that we have the capacity and ability to control. While we cannot force the sun to shine brighter, we can engage in actions that will eclipse the dark power of the moon.  

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