Wisdom- Recovery Word of the Week

 “Two roads diverged in wood and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Frost

“Two roads diverged in wood and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Frost

“Two roads diverged in wood and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Frost
Our Word of the Week series continues at South Orange County Detox as we feature “Wisdom” in our ongoing series. I would loosely define wisdom as the combination of knowledge and experience that has facilitated a lasting change in our emotional reactions and behaviors that we choose to, or not to, engage in. As is implied, one cannot merely acquire wisdom through reading books, nor can we achieve this simply through experiencing life. I have known many individuals who are extremely knowledgeable, and others who have lived a life with many trying experiences, however, neither of these, independent of one another, equate to wisdom. The implications of a lack of understanding of wisdom can have many positive, but also negative consequences while on our respective roads to recovery. Early on, I believed that if I read as many psychology books as I could, or listened to various lectures on addiction, I could “learn” my way out of my disease. This failed miserably as I continuously had to learn the hard way that addiction is not a condition that can be outsmarted. I even tried to “experience” my way through my disease, while constantly trying to circumvent the real work required, by experimenting with moderated use, employing self-help-techniques, and any other methodology I could apply in order to avoid forging directly through the road less traveled. This, of course, was also a foolish and naive attempt on my part to try and maintain control over a demon that had no intention of giving up its hold over every ounce of my being. Throughout my experiences of success and relapse in sobriety, I have learned one very important rule: there is no way to slay the demon of addiction without facing it directly. This means coming to terms with my past failures, mistakes, and sins; it means taking personal responsibility for my actions and inaction whilst in my addiction; it means finding a higher order purpose that wasn’t the hedonistic and narcissistic lifestyle of self-exaltation and personal gains; it means admitting that we may not know what we think we know ;and finally, it means addressing the inner conflicts and traumas that burdened me throughout my life. Needless to say, I now view these experiences as battles won in a war that will ultimately continue to be waged throughout my life. In conclusion, wisdom is probably the key characteristic to look for in a sponsor and in the people we choose to surround ourselves with in sobriety. Establishing a network of wise individuals to help support us in recovery can be an invaluable asset as when I have applied the wisdom of those before me I have been able to avoid some pitfalls that I may have otherwise have stumbled on when encountered.
“Science is organized knowledge; wisdom is organized life.” -Kant