Man is in love and loves what vanishes. What more is there to say? -W.B. Yeats
For centuries it has been noted that one of the foundations of human unhappiness is that life is constantly changing. One of the best uses for addictive behaviors is that they can stand to iron out the emotional disarray that life’s constant change can seem to produce. Upon entering recovery it is very useful to counteract the chaos of the “using” life with a prescribed structure. This can help bring a necessary feeling of order into one’s life as well as helping to keep unwanted changes to a minimum. Often, however, if structure is adhered to obsessively, it, too, can be used addictively in an effort to counteract the inevitability and discomfort of change. Often the structure that was originally used as a vessel to create order and a sense of internal discipline can morph into a desperate attempt to keep life safe and unmoving. Although the ability to create and cultivate a life that contains a healthy structure, sturdy enough to support a functional life is of the utmost importance, so too is it to do so while remaining flexible enough to honor the temporary nature of life. Structure must be sturdy without being rigid or inflexible or it becomes dysfunctional all over again. With the application of appropriate structure must eventually come the understanding that structure cannot replace the need to stay flexible enough to flow with the natural vicissitudes of life. Emotionally, Structure should ultimately be used to create a gentle sense of self-discipline not as an attempt to keep oneself safe from the fact that all in life will eventually change and ultimately vanish.