You wander from room to room looking for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck.

The process of recovering from our addictions is not so much about learning to live without them as it is about identifying what it is they provided us and learning how to provide these things to ourselves sustainably. Our addictions don’t form themselves accidentally, nor do they initially develop simply through the potentially addictive nature of the substances or behaviors themselves. Addictions materialize due to a vulnerability inherent in the person exposed to them, and the type of relief that they provide. In this way, addiction recovery is a learning process, one through which we learn about the nature of our emotional deficiencies and a proper pathway to fulfilling them. At heart, these deficiencies usually form as a result of emotional wounding and a reactive attempt to protect ourselves from further pain. Addictions stand to sooth the isolation that is an inevitable byproduct of this protection. In recovery, we must learn to shed the layers that once protected, but also isolated us. In this way, we learn to become vulnerable again, opening ourselves back up again and reclaiming the most precious parts of our humanness.

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