There is much variation when it comes to human beings and their interests, preferences, habits, and abilities. There is a fabric that weaves itself throughout all humans being, however, that is ubiquitous and cross-cultural; we can call this fabric communication and connection. No mater your religious beliefs, nationality or ethnic background, humans have a universal desire to connect with one another. While there are many biological and social factors at play to explain this phenomenon, what really matters is we understand, from the perspective of the suffering addict, why this is so crucial so that we may begin to participate in these conversations. Here is a short metaphor to simplify an understanding of the imperativeness of connection in recovery. An individual is walking down the street and falls into a pothole. Because this person didn’t see the pothole he fell into, his brain sends him messages in the form of anxiety that says, “You had better figure out how to not fall in that hole again.” As long as this individual continues to prove he cannot identify, and then create a solution to the problem of the pothole, his brain will continue to remind him (via the mechanism of anxiety) that there is a problem to which no solution has been identified. This correlates heavily to the experience of sharing one’s own plight in addiction, and subsequently the solution they applied to the problem in order to ameliorate it. From a cognitive standpoint, the individual who shares their story with another addict in this way is providing hope! To return to the pothole analogy, it’s as if someone materialized and provided to the person that keeps falling in the pothole a guide around the pothole that they had never previously noticed. Chemically speaking, this allows the body and brain to exit from fight or flight mode and return to a homeostatic state that manifests itself in calmness and a reduction in fear, stress and anxiety.
While we are all aware on some level that sharing our stories, struggles, battles, losses, and victories with another addict has a healing quality, it’s not always easy to put our finger on exactly what that quality is. As was illustrated above, and at minimal, it helps create new pathways for which we can apply solutions to problems that couldn’t be effectively dealt with beforehand. Our stories, at a more emotional level, provide hope to the newly sober addict, exemplifying that if we can do it, so certainly can you! This is a reciprocal and real relationship in truest form because both parties are engaging in a connection whereby, they both receive something of value in its context. For the addict who is sharing, he escapes his ego and engages in a higher form of purpose by helping someone else, and for the addict receiving the shared knowledge and experience, they are instilled with hope, motivation, and a call for action with respect to the fact that they can now forge their own path within recovery and work to harvest for themselves a life worth living outside of the seductive temptations of addiction.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier 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. By showing our men how to celebrate each day’s victories, we show them that self love isn’t about what we have or haven’t done. It’s about getting a little closer to where we want to be. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.