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Attunement- Recovery Word of the Week

 Attunement- Recovery Word of the Week  South Orange County Detox & Treatment-949-584-5927

Attunement- Recovery Word of the Week

South Orange County Detox & Treatment-949-584-5927

For our ongoing Word of the Week series here at South Orange County Detox, we will be focusing on the importance of attunement as it relates to relationships in sobriety. It is difficult to speak honestly about the importance of honesty in recovery if there’s one has not become attuned with one’s own inner-truth and voice. While in active addiction, there is no room for our true selves to flourish because they have been necessarily hijacked in order to make room for the hedonistic and destructive goals of our addicted and contaminated ego forces. In that state, there is no vestige of hope, and beyond that even, there is no chance of a harmonious reconciliation with the divine truth within us. In order to attune ourselves with our personal inner truth, the plight of our loved one, and ultimately, with our Higher Power, we must first take a leap of faith, “put the plug in the jug”, and be willing to relinquish the repetitive pattern of self-destruction. Attunement is best utilized when applied to the 3 facets of our interpersonal relationships, relationship to ourselves, and our relationship with God, in order to work in unison and provide clarity during the most hazy of times. Now that we have established the goal, lets talk a little bit about how to achieve it. It is my opinion that there isn’t a technique, per se, on how to attune oneself effectively, however, I believe the best facilitator of this action is through the practice of mindfulness. I have made the mistake for most of my life with respect to my approach to attunement as I have believed that if I worked to “figure out” the mechanics of how myself, or someone else works, I can attune myself to these perceived functions in order to better grasp the plight of the individual in question. While this approach isn’t futile, it certainly is less effective and far less authentic than merely being able to be present with that person and being able to meet them then and there, in whatever state they are in. This act not only personifies compassion, but it transmits a signal of deep respect and understanding for the unique inner-world of the individual. It always requires patience so that we may be led to understand their experiences as opposed to guiding them into the pre-established framework that was forged prior to any encounter. Finally, through prayer, meditation, and right action, we can harvest attunement with our Higher Power in order to help ourselves to further delineate our vision so that we can progress forward with grace and integrity.

Resilience- "Ride Life to Perfect Laughter"

 RESILIENCE- WORD OF THE WEEK  SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX AND TREATMENT- 949-584-5927

RESILIENCE- WORD OF THE WEEK

SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX AND TREATMENT- 949-584-5927

As we continue our Word of the Week series here at South Orange County Detox & Treatment, we are going to be highlighting “resilience” as we discuss why the ability to enact this particular attitude is integral to long, and even more importantly, short-term sobriety. One is hard-pressed to imagine a scenario where someone would need to personify the necessary characteristics of resilience more so than during the process of recovery. As anyone who has embarked on the journey of sobriety knows, there are points in time where the pressure becomes seemingly unbearable due to the cacophony of dark forces that echo like desperate screams inside our heads. These are the moments in time where we define our future by choosing to persevere rather than acquiescing to the torturous nihilism that breeds depression and desperation. We can think of resilience as variety of skills that, when brought together, will allow us to face life on life’s terms with the understanding that doing so will lead us down the road less traveled; as Frost stated, “I chose the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference.” Let’s examine exactly what it means to forge a course that is off the beaten path. “Life show up” is an adage I’ve heard before in 12 step meetings and I believe this simple statement is actually trying to indicate to us that we have limited control over a finite amount of facets in the context of life’s entire process. When we face difficulties of all imaginable sorts, physical, emotional, psychological, existential, interpersonal, etc., we collide with a fork in the road where we can try and regain or retain control, or we can, to use another 12 adage, “Let go and Let God.”

To illustrate this further, let’s think of surfing as a metaphor. Anyone who has surfed or even witnessed surfing understands that we are not controlling the waves. Waves are formed independently of any human influence and do not submit to the wishes of those who are lucky enough to enjoy experiencing the power, grace, and sometimes ruthlessness that manifest through their magnificent force. If we can conceptualize the approach to surfing and apply it to how we engage with life we will be able to find much wisdom from this perspective. Wipeouts are inevitable in the water and also outside of it but the one’s resiliency is truly put to the test the moment after we breach the surface of the water back into the clarity of life. Our success in recovery is directly correlated to how quickly and powerfully we rebound from our “wipeouts”. We cannot change, alter, or modify the suffering and adversity that life inevitably brings, but we all have the spiritual weapons within us that allows us to battle and defeat the demons whose only purpose is to destroy our will and contaminate our divinity with despair. If we can maintain faith that our very essence is divinely inspired and protected, we will implement all the traits that constitute our resilience and ultimately, “we will ride life to perfect laughter as it is the only good fight there is.”

Slam Dunk- "Faith" Recovery Word of the Week

 FAITH-WORD OF THE WEEK  SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT

FAITH-WORD OF THE WEEK

SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT

As our Word of the Week series continues, we will be focusing on a word that is paramount in the context of long-term sobriety. We will be discussing the advantages of engaging in an attitude of faith during process. Maintaining a sense of faith, especially during the early stages of sobriety is invaluable, but let’s break down exactly why this is important. A word we have focused on during this series, in the past, has been hope; we cannot expect to forge a path into freedom and autonomy if we cannot begin to foster hope in the initial phases of recovery. It is obvious why hope is a necessity, as it is required in order to motivate us to engage in the right action during the present. If we have no hope in how we can effectively shape our future, we will have no motivation to begin creating new pathways that ought to start us down the course of liberation and freedom from drugs and alcohol. The precursor to hope, however, is faith, and without it we’ve lost before we’ve ever began. We can define faith in a lot of different ways, but for the sake of those of us in recovery, lets think of it as an agreement and understanding within ourselves that acknowledges it is more important to engage in right acts because they are right than to participate in dishonest acts that may serve us in a more immediate manner. As an example, when I was learning to dunk in basketball, rather than lining up day after day trying to work on the “style” of my dunk, I had to place faith in the fact that eventually I would work my way up to dunking if I completed my daily plyometric (jumping) drills. While this process was grueling and painstaking, I engaged in it despite that because I had faith that it would ultimately lead me to my goal. Faith can be applied similarly within recovery. As the program manager at South Orange County Detox and Treatment, I have worked with more than my fair share of clients who have been unable or unwilling to practice faith, especially in early recovery. I see, all too often, where the path leads that is not lit by faith, and it starts early. Within the first month it is relatively easy to spot those who are going to be successful and those who are not based on whether or not they are going to allow themselves to put faith in something greater then themselves, and faith in the guidance of the leadership at South Orange County Detox and Treatment. I understand the oxymoronic nature of putting faith in someone or something that is unknown, but in the arena of addiction, we must place our ego’s to the side and allow those who have experience guide us. The reason putting faith into those who are trustworthy is so crucial is because there can be no lasting faith or hope without a connection to reality. I can have faith and hope that world hunger can and will be solved, however, if I don’t know how to accurately assess this problem, the practice of faith will merely be exercises in impotent self-exaltation.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller

 

Influence

 INFLUENCE- WORD OF THE WEEK  SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT

INFLUENCE- WORD OF THE WEEK

SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT

Our Word of the Week series continues here at South Orange County Detox as we highlight “influence” as our featured word. Influence is an interesting word as it doesn’t necessarily denote a positive facilitator of change, but merely any tool by which the agent has been modified for the good or bad, one way or another. We’re going to work backwards today in our attempt to unravel how to best integrate positive influences into our lives while keeping negative ones at bay. We also want to take this examination one step further in order to stay mindful of how the negative influences throughout our impacted us in order to avoid these pitfalls in the future. As most of us are aware of by now, our initial and most impactful influences, positive and negative, come from our primary caretakers, or in most cases, our parents. While it would be comforting to believe that the parents we love and adore were only the harbingers of positive change, which can also be true, the devil lies in the details in that they have also likely helped to lay the foundation of dysfunction and even trauma as well. I won’t go into the advantages of psycho-therapeutic work  for brevity’s sake, but I do want to point out that while we are not at fault for our parents shortcomings vis a vis their parenting, we are responsible for how much care and energy we expend on the process of unpacking these emotionally-charged issues and dynamics so that we may live as liberated as we can be from the skeletons residing in our closets. Now that we’ve touched on the more difficult, time-consuming, and longitudinal-type work, let’s look at what how we can address issues of influence within the present. First and foremost, let’s stop running on the assumption that sobriety is the only litmus test that matters with respect to how we seek positive people as influences within the recovery culture. You wouldn’t evaluate a “Normie” who had overcome obesity as a generally “good person” simply by virtue of their weight loss so let’s not make the same mistake when it comes to addicts in recovery. Is it an incredible accomplishment? Yes; does it give an accurate depiction of the whole of the individual? Absolutely not. We need to be incorporating a holistic approach even when looking for new friends, sponsors, or sober friends in general. The old saying goes, “You’re can only be as successful as your least successful friend.” While this is probably overstated, the point remains that we are deeply influenced by our friend and peer groups and therefore we ought to be choosing people that will exemplify positivity, honesty, integrity, compassion, and loyalty. This all sounds pretty simple, and it certainly can be. One last tip I’d like to suggest while discussing influence is this: think back on someone who has influenced you in a negative way and try to get to the bottom of why you were attracted to that person. Did their confidence make you feel secure as it did with your father? Were they caring and compassionate as your mother was? Were they fiercely loyal as your big brother was growing up? What matters here isn’t how you reacted during this period where you allowed for negative influence to breach your consciousness, but rather to understand why you were attracted to this dynamic in the first place. Now that we have come back full circle, the realizations you have gathered may be a good place to start within the context of long-term work with a therapist, mentor, or sponsor. Finally, the least obvious yet potentially most impactful influence on any individual can be found in their relationship with a Higher Power. While necessary components of any influential system, humans can be fickle, compromising, and fallible, however, God always remains a constant source of love and connectedness within a world of ever-changing chaos and discord. Nikola Tesla stated this point beautifully when he said, “Every living being is an engine geared to the wheel work of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.” When we learn to embrace the divinity of the cosmos we can begin the work of sharing the sustenance of divine influence to those who are spiritually malnourished.

 

Captain of the Team- Leadership

Leadership Alex.jpg

When most people think about the word “leadership” they may think of the leader of a political party or the leader of a Country or President. For me growing up playing sports most of my life, the role of leader was typically given to the Captain of the team or someone who communicated well with teammates. When I played sports I was usually that person, I was either Captain or Assistant Captain of most of the teams I played for and that position usually had more responsibility then other players. You were expected to be at practice and games earlier, working harder, and if something was going wrong within the team you were the first person the coach would talk to. As I got older and my addiction got worse, I became more selfish, cared less about my team and how we did and eventually stopped playing sports all together. I forgot how important it was to be a leader and to have a leader around you to help guide you to success. When I first entered rehab and the program of AA I was new to everything. I knew nothing about AA and what it took to get and stay sober and at first did not have any intention of learning or growing. Once I went to some AA meetings and people told me I needed to get a sponsor to help guide and lead me through the steps and help me get sober I was resistant to that at first. My pride got in the way and I was not able to see that I was not the leader that I once was and that I needed someone to help me get through this hard time so that I could lead and guide people through the steps and helping them get sober.

When I came to South Orange County Detox & Treatment (SOCD) and started helping people get clean, I felt that sense of leadership starting with Salina the Program Director. Being at SOCD, seeing Salina’s vision and knowledge, and seeing so many peoples lives transform has given me that confidence back to be a leader and to be able to help people get and stay sober. To me, a leader does not have to be powerful or better than anyone else, a leader just needs to be open and honest, willing to help people, compassionate, loving, and caring and that is what a true leader is to me.

 

Leadership & Love

 “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”-Martin Luther King Jr.

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”-Martin Luther King Jr.

As I evaluate the word of the week, Leadership, I try to incorporate many different aspects of what makes a great leader and the roles where leadership exists today.  I feel a responsibility to channel my passion into this blog as it is derived from a place of sadness over the current discord between leaders of this country and between the political polarizations in an effort to find a greater solution.  With that said, my first true evaluation (as it should be with everyone) is with my own leadership roles, as a Mother, Business owner, Christian, Social Worker, Woman, and fundamentally as a human.  While recognizing my own human frailty and acknowledging my own imperfection daily, I choose to fight to improve areas that need to be strengthened, to acknowledge mistakes, to seek guidance from other leaders, and to pray and share with those who I am leading, my understanding for each of them and their struggles.   

My utmost higher calling in life is my leadership role as a mother.  This leadership role should be given more praise and respect in our society, as parenting of today’s youth shapes the future leaders and citizens of tomorrow.  It is often a humble and sacrificial role where action is the key element of leadership in teaching our children how to treat others and how to live with integrity. This teaching role, to me, has been spiritually inspired and beneficial in my personal journey, as I am honored to see my boys grow into young and intelligent men of integrity, faith, compassion, and loyalty.   As I look at some of my friends who stay home as full-time mothers and educators, I am inspired by their creativity, love, care, and dedication to their families, which is often over-looked by many as there are no raises, promotions, or materiel rewards.  However, as I see it, each of them shines bright in beauty and inspiration for their roles as a mother.  Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, eloquently states, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.

I have the pleasure of being the President and Owner of South Orange County Detox and Treatment.  I have the honor of leading the staff and clients in a much-needed field of addiction recovery. I never aspired to be a business owner and the more years I have been in the role of leadership, the more I empathize with the complexities of leadership that I never before considered.  I have always been flexible with following God’s path for my life, but I never saw it being in leadership.  Leadership is something I learned from both of my parents, and from having an independent spirit, that was often rebellious and eccentric in nature.  To me, a true leader needs to be independent, strong, creative, optimistic, invested, and this is often the outcome of individuals who are leaders long before given that role.  I never saw my own strength until this role was given to me, and I felt compelled to forge a path and make it my own.The opiate epidemic and the rising tide of those who suffer from addiction has become a war we are losing whereby people all over America are experiencing a horrific tragedy that is taking too many lives. Families of sufferers are in a state of perpetual post-traumatic stress with limited answers to quench their thirst for solution.  With passion, purpose, and love for saving lives, I found a place of leadership that I felt worth leading.  It has been a painful journey and I have sat with many parents and loved ones as they grieve the loss of their child, sibling, friends, and partners; brilliant and beautiful people lost in the depths of addiction too soon for all of us to understand. For the many who have been able to find themselves, their higher power, their passions and vocations, and their sobriety, the fight has been worth struggle and leadership has been natural as I have a passion for this divinely inspired path of trying to save as many people suffering from addiction.  The honor of this leadership role comes not from self-exaltation but from seeing people’s lives transform because they were willing to allow me to help them.

If more leaders, specifically political leaders, would take the time to remember why he or she first got into politics, rekindling the passion that led him or her to serve as leaders of the people, the self-driven and selfish desire to be powerful may dissipate and a greater vision emerge for America. Hate corrupts the heart, and never solves problems without war, death, and pain.  I have found myself having to discuss the honest truth about current politics with my sons where hypocrisy, hatred, and corruption seem to take precedence over the real issues that need to be discussed, debated, and resolved with intellect, understanding, and resolution.   If we stopped to listen to each other and stopped trying to prove points by attacking others, more of the problems may be solved with less solution sacrificed.  Too often, there are news stories of mass shootings and the aftermath of hateful debates on how to solve them, it seems like we are far from providing a solution.

 My daily efforts in practical and pragmatic solutions in my other leadership roles of life, often leaves me indifferent towards politics at times.  In that way, I myself haven’t been part of the solution.  The TV debates and criticisms of the left and right, leaves me so overwhelmed that I often find myself avoiding it at all costs.  Martin Luther King stated, “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” Dr. King’s statement encourages all of us to start showing more love, justice, and strength that is necessary to create the change that needs to happen within America, despite the outcome of any election or any media event, so we can all be part of the solution and not part of the problem.   

Leadership- Word of the Week Tribute to Elections

 “The supreme quality of leadership is integrity”- Dwight Eisenhower

“The supreme quality of leadership is integrity”- Dwight Eisenhower

Here at South Orange County Detox and Treatment, we are continuing our Word of the Week series with a tribute to “leadership” as we approach the upcoming mid-term elections. As we have discussed before, finding connection with people who are interested in bettering their own lives, as well as the lives of those around them, is one of many necessary components of a Solid Recovery Program. In order to ensure that the people who we are associating with while in recovery are the types that will not only be supportive of us, but will also hold our feet to the fire of accountability, apply rigorous honesty, and not tell us what we need to do, but rather show us how it is beneficial through actions of their own. In other words, we want to find those individuals who exhibit “Leadership” qualities so that we may begin to understand what these qualities are, and why they would be advantageous to our recovery if we could also put them into action.

One aspect of a good leader is that they are able to obtain desired results. There are many implications to this type of impact that a leader may have on others. The most important being that those who surround themselves with individuals like this, will be more prone to “Talk the Talk” rather than stating aloud their intentions, while not following through in “Action”. Effective Leaders are also honest and up front about things they believe needed to be stated. They do not crumble or acquiesce to threats, and they stick behind their principles not only during times of convenience, but in times of trial where these principles will inevitably be tested. Great leaders also share the ability to Influence; this doesn’t always indicate that these abilities will be used for noble intent, but that only makes honesty, integrity, and compassion all the more invaluable traits because without them, we would not be confident in the trust we are granting to those we choose to hold in high esteem. Leadership that is not based at least partially on trust becomes void and irrelevant as quickly as the individual proves they are not worthy of trust. Finally, the most important quality of a leader is the ability to inspire. Inspiration is the center point of which all other qualities constellate around and that is because to truly inspire others, one must personify all of the qualities that we have stated previously. Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock has seen the outrage the public has justifiably felt towards leaders and politicians who profess one agenda or idea, and then when no one is looking, exemplify through action that do not adhere to these principles within their private lives. Once this bond is broken, it is often the case that it is never mended at which point leaders fail to serve their primary purpose. Dwight Eisenhower famously said, “The supreme quality of leadership is integrity”.

The Primary Antidote to Chaotic Despair-"Connection"

 CONNECTION  SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT “WORD OF THE WEEK”

CONNECTION

SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY DETOX & TREATMENT “WORD OF THE WEEK”

We are focusing on “Connection” as our featured word in our ongoing “Word of the Week” series here at South Orange County Detox and Treatment. As addicts who have presumably spent a fair amount of time in isolation while in our addictions, it might be easy to brush off the importance of connection with others as a superfluous luxury that can come into, and out of, our lives just as the tides do. This perception, however, is a wildly inaccurate representation of the importance that connection to other human beings, nature, and God can have on our lives. The impact that a connection with another person who can be trusted and communicated with can prove to be invaluable experience that can lead to deeper and more meaningful relationships in the future. It’s often said that “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection,” and this adage, if applied seriously, can be one of the primary antidotes to the chaotic despair of substance addiction, as well as other less blatant behavioral addictions. Simply stated, addictions manifest due to a lacking of something, or of many things. While we could unpack, in great detail, the many facets of one’s history, personality, genetic predisposition, and so on in order to deconstruct the building blocks of what made us addicted, but for brevity’s sake, we’re going to discuss connection as a spotlight that can shine light onto the darkness of our unconscious and irrational forces that drive us to stay in the closed feedback loop of the addiction cycle. Chances are, as addicts, we were sent a message early on that stated, in one way or another, that people are generally not to be trusted and that the most advantageous approach to reconciling this terrifying perspective is to disengage with authenticity and genuineness as a means to avoid being hurt later on, which when viewing the world through this lens, happens inevitably. While I understand that there is some merit to this way of interacting with a world as scary as ours, this aversion to intimacy also becomes our Achilles heel.

Why is connection with others so important to our recovery? Think of connection, or lack of connection, as a state of physical dehydration. We’re severely thirsty, to the point where it feels as though if we do not get water to drink, we may actually die. We desperate accept any liquid that may quench this thirst in the moment, hell, we’d drink soda, red bull, milk, and anything that might give us immediate relief. While these liquids will temporarily ease our suffering, water with its purity, is the only solution that will sustain our lives in the long run. This is what is happening when we isolate ourselves from other people and fail to accept the divinity that our higher power has bestowed upon us, and upon everything around us. We crave connection to a divine source and human beings are a manifestation of that divinity. While drugs, alcohol, work, anger, gambling, and power all serve as great distractions to our spiritual dehydration, they only exacerbate the real problem and compound the existing issue on top of itself, over and over again. For most of us, true connection is a scary and unfamiliar territory to try and navigate through. Without it, however, we are relegated to the all too familiar territory that our addictions reside in. A territory void of love, compassion, kindness, and ultimately our solution, a restoration of our divine selves and the quenching of our spiritual thirst.

Enthusiasm- Recovery Word of the Week

 “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” -Aldous Huxley

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” -Aldous Huxley

As we continue our Word of the Week series here at South Orange County Detox, this week we will be focusing on the word enthusiasm. Aldous Huxley stated that, “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” I wanted to start off with this quote as it exemplifies, in my opinion, the reason why maintaining enthusiasm throughout our lives is an invaluable skill. I use “skill” purposefully as I believe enthusiasm can often be thought of as something that is bestowed upon us, or a fleeting sense of excitement towards an established goal. While it can be both of those, more frequently than not, it is a state of being that is “earned” rather than a state gifted upon us by a source not within ourselves. This begs the question, “How, practically, do I earn this and how do I apply it in my daily life?” The answer is simple, however, the application is not. As Huxley pointed out, we need to be able to harness a curiosity towards life, just as a child would. Anyone who has interacted with a child knows that their favorite question to as is “why?” As we grow older we become susceptible to the seduction of a nihilistic approach to life whereby we accept what is, and merely “move on”, so to speak. While I understand the appeal to this perspective as I championed it ignorantly for a large part of my life, it needs to be emphasized that this approach leads to depression, apathy, and ultimately for the addict, relapse. In the Greek and Latin languages, respectively, enthusiasm means to be “filled with God” and to “study”. This is important because it conveys to us the importance of harvesting the ability to seek answers as means to obtain clarity when curious, and to do so with a fervor that is driven by the recognition that it is divinely inspired. How difficult is this to put in action, you might ask? Well, here’s some good news: if we are adhering to the tenets of the 12 steps, we ought to be engaging with highs and lows of life, enthusiastically, on a daily basis. When we wrong someone, we are enthusiastic about taking personal responsibility; when we succeed at something, we are enthusiastic about doubling down on that success and working even harder; when we see someone struggling, we are enthusiastic to help them as we were once helped; and if we should relapse, we commit to “studying” what went off track in order to ameliorate the issues, and doing so with the understanding that we are already “filled with God” which can help give us the extra energy to persevere even when life can become seemingly unbearable.  When I struggle, I reach for inspiration in any form that will light a fire within myself again. An old poem that often grants me the enthusiasm I need to continue enduring goes something like this, “You'll do it, despite rejection, isolation, derision, and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.”

Perfectionism- Recovery Word of the Week

Perfectionism .jpg

As our Word of the Week series at South Orange County Detox continues, we are going to be taking a look at some of the pitfalls associated with perfectionism in the context of recovery from drugs and alcohol. While there are many facets that interrelate, and many dynamics that interact with one another to jumpstart the engine of addiction, perfectionism is one of the least discussed, yet most insidious of traits adopted by the addict in, and out of recovery. Its insidious nature is derived from the fact that this component is often either overlooked, or is underrepresented with respect to the harmful outcomes that can come along with perpetuating this perspective. As could be argued is the case with many negative aspects of one’s personality, fear is at the heart of perfectionism, and that becomes severely problematic because, as addicts, we are averse to most forms of fear. We have learned to allocate fear into the trash bins of our psyche and emotional supply; we then accomplish this feat by means of drowning it out with substances. This previous and maladaptive patterning leaves us in quite the conundrum as, if we have made the decision to be sober, we cannot pull from our arsenal the most “valuable” weapon we had in the face of this giant dragon we call fear, namely, drugs. This leaves us with but one option if we are to navigate these murky waters into those of clarity; the acknowledgement and confrontation of why it is we require perfection of ourselves when we can never be capable of such an ideal. “We must” is the name of the bullet that is fired from the weapon of fear. It is the voice that breaches and then penetrates our being saying that, “you’ll never be good enough, smart enough, lovable enough, handsome/pretty enough, wealthy enough, and competent enough.” It seduces us with the notion that if we can “do” what we believe we “must”, then we will no longer have to be fearful of coming up short. This illusion has tempted many an addict into applying false, and more importantly, unrealistic standards for who we need to be and how we need to live. As soon as we give up our childish quest for perfection, we can become grounded in a reality where goals and achievements are then actual possibilities; we can initiate the incremental steps necessary for long term and sustainable progress. The next time you find yourself making judgments with perfection as the marker for success, try and remember that the striving towards this impossible goal is not a courageous and admirable endeavor; it is a coward’s journey, and one that is embarked upon by only those without the humility to set their pride aside and be willing to marinate in their own fallible humanity. I will leave you with another quote from Dr. Jung which highlights the reality that states we must be willing to engage and integrate our insecurities and fears that lie within us all in order to eventually realize our specific path and become “the acorn that is always meant to become the oak tree.”

“No tree can grow to heaven without recognizing that its roots reach down to hell.” C.G. Jung