In active addiction, patience is not required. In fact, it is typically rejected. Where patience would normally come into play in a person’s life–such as for moments of pain, grief or struggle—active addicts usually employ impulsivity, escapism, distraction and avoidance. In other words, those struggling with addiction are accustomed to the “quick fix” rather than long-term recovery.
A quick fix is a simple and fast solution to a problem. It's typically one that only deals with the acute symptoms, rather than the root cause of the issue. For instance, rather than seeking counseling to deal with why anxiety or depression exists, most people simply opt for a quick-fix solution, such as pharmaceutical drugs, to curb the uncomfortable symptoms.
For active addicts, this quick-fix approach seems to be the answer to all of life’s problems, from trivial to severe. Surely, this only adds to the consequences and pain, and eventually—with the right factors at play—leads the addict to seek help. Even in the midst of recovery, however, the desire to cut corners and reach for Band-Aid solutions does not simply go away.
If you’re currently struggling with the need for a quick fix, here are 3 things you can do to ensure your recovery journey delves deep and helps you make peace with the root issues and impact of addiction in your life.
1. Work the program.
Don’t just cherry pick which parts you’re going to do and not do. Working the program means going through every step, phase, stage or process of the treatment plan you’ve chosen or that has been designed for you.
For instance, if you opt for a 12-Step program, work the steps while in treatment and continue doing so even after you leave. That means you’re expected to acquire a sponsor, attend meetings, make full amends, take a personal inventory, etc. This process may take months or even years, depending on the individual and how honest they’re willing to be. And for the record, this is a lifelong commitment that doesn’t end at the 12th step or once you’ve maintained a certain amount of time sobriety. From here on out, think of recovery as a “rinse-and-repeat” process rather than a “one-and-done” project.
2. Holistic recovery.
Recovery is more than just tackling the physical components of chemical dependency. One’s psychological, emotional and spiritual recovery must take place as well. That’s why rehab facilities employ a team of addiction specialists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, recovery coaches, social workers, life and spiritual coaches and so on. These helping professionals assist in the various healing processes necessary to treat the underlying causes for the substance use and abuse that led to addiction, rather than simply treating its symptoms.
3. Healing and strengthening the relationship with yourself.
Depending on the severity of the circumstances that damaged your relationship with yourself is in the first place, healing past wounds surrounding addiction can take a long time. That’s why most recovery programs focus on helping you learn to love and care for yourself first. And as we continue to evolve and transform as people, we must also continually build and rebuild the strength to not falter when temptations comes our way.
Remember, anything worth doing takes time. True recovery is equivalent to starting over completely, laying a new foundation and building a new you from the ground up.