Addicts and alcoholics don’t usually like new and unknown things, unless they’re new forms of acting out. We tend to view them with alarm, because they often interfere with our using. Thus, to addicts of all kinds, change equals bad news, until proven otherwise. We don’t like new ways of doing things, or new ways of relating to life and other people. We find the status quo comfortable; we know how to handle it. Even in the frequent cases where things aren’t going the way we’d like, at least they’re familiar. We hate feeling as though we’re out of control — of ourselves, other people, our lives, our ability to get our fix. We hate change, unless it brings some kind of thrill that we’re already anticipating. We want to get our lives just right, and then have them welded.
We often find the rapidly changing social roles and customs of today disturbing, as well. Women are becoming more assertive and sure of their place in our society, while men are becoming more nurturing and attuned to the idea that there’s more to life than work, sports and objectifying prospective sexual partners. These changes can lead to new challenges and open up new kinds of fulfillment, but if we suffer from some form of sexual addiction they can be really scary. Any addiction can leave us paralyzed with fear of the unknown, and feeling that our particular ways of satisfying the needs of our addictions are being threatened.
Then our hard heads hit the rocks at the bottom of our personal chasms, and we begin to see that we can’t go on as we have been, despite our fear. Our fear of where our disease is leading us becomes greater than our fear of change — but we still hate the idea of moving into the unfamiliar world of recovery. If we get sober, how will we handle the pain that we were covering up by using?
The way past such stumbling blocks is to accept the challenges of the new reality we’re trying to build for ourselves. As we come to grips with who we really are — as opposed to the addict that we’ve been for so long — we will become willing to try new things; to open new doors. Working the 12 Steps is a huge lunge down the path of self-discovery. Our supports in recovery can help us there, as can our relationship with our higher power. It doesn’t matter Who or What our H. P. may be. What’s important is that we recognize that we can’t do these things alone.
When we finally begin to realize how much our addictions stifled us, we will begin to see that we were selling ourselves short. We find new areas of interest, learn new skills, meet new people, and create new happiness for ourselves and others. We truly do reinvent ourselves, one day at a time.
If — and only if — we are willing to do the work.