By: Anna Mason, BS, CAP, Therapist at Transformations
Just as a child enters the doors of kindergarten, an addict enters the doors of a treatment center with a fear of the unknown, with anxiety of what is to come, and resistance to take a look at the truth. Once inside these doors, an addict is faced with the multitude of questions that rip through their private thoughts only adding additional fear to the idea of this change that is being offered. It is with great hope and with understanding that an addict deserves, that the staff will assist in allowing this person to find their own way, learning the layout of the property, identifying who to trust and who they can’t, and then identifying with the routine that will be their lives for the next few weeks.
Change is something that most anyone can respect as difficult, sharing personal fears, private family issues, and the trauma that an addict has been avoiding. The lives and lifestyles that an addict has lived is one of secrecy, however, the addict quickly learns that it is not a life that he or she has lived alone. Suddenly, as they sit quietly in groups those first days and sometimes weeks, they learn that their peers have lived the same hell that they have been experiencing, they learn that the therapist identifies with their pain, and respects them for wanting to change; that there is a spark of hope beyond the damage that has been done.
An addict in treatment presents as small and afraid to some, but to their peers and to those reaching out to help, they reflect courage, determination, and a love that has been forgotten for themselves and their loved ones. It is through this courage, that an addict can reach out, identify the behaviors that have created a path of destruction. It is one addict helping another that allows a person to identify with someone else’s pain other than their own, a sense of selflessness that had been lost in their addiction. It is through identifying those impulses and behaviors that a person of any caliber can learn to make adjustments, to improve.
Behind those fears, those challenges, and the statistics that are stacked against them, a disease is addressed and behaviors are curbed, allowing for an addict to see the light at the end of a tunnel. It is this light that must burn bright for one to build a new life, to build trust back in themselves, and their families, it must shine with strength that lights up the future and provides guidance for the addict in these early stages of recovery.
May these words provide hope, and faith, but mostly create a goal that we all reach out to those facing their fears, and hold the light so that they may see the path clearly, just for today.