You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. -Jon Kabat-Zinn
At their center, addictions are an attempt to regulate and control our emotional experience. They generally represent a misguided attempt to ensure that life unfolds in an emotionally comfortable and predictable way. The irony, of course, is that this effort usually creates much more discomfort than had we let life unfold on its own. But we aren’t conscious of the fact that we are making these attempts to temper reality until the addictions are too deeply embedded to simply stop. So as we enter into recovery, it is very important that we learn to allow life to flow instead of trying to wrest and contort it to make it comfortable. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we shouldn’t make plans and set goals, or that we shouldn’t work hard to see them through. It simply means that it is important to learn to be flexible when the inevitable and unexpected twists and turns arise. Through this flexibility we learn to trust the process of life as well as our own abilities to respond to it with aptitude and integrity. As we learn this valuable lesson, we experience less emotional discomfort, and, of course, require less distraction from it through our addictions.