On Distraction

Our addictions serve as important distractions. Almost everything about the process of addiction creates a distraction from underlying aspects of our emotional experience. The more our addictions rule our lives, the more powerful this fundamental distraction process. In our recovery, too, we must consciously develop appropriate distractions that we can employ while we are working on healing the wounded layers of our psyche from which our addictions protected us. But sometimes these distractions may not be available to us. During these times, we may not have the dubious luxury of hiding behind these more banal diversions that usually keep us safely entertained or engaged in such a way that we don’t need to be fully present. So it is a vital part of the recovery process that we practice living without distraction so that during these times we can still function without returning to our addictions as last resort. In this way they remain distractions and not dependencies. There is nothing wrong with developing and employing routines or pastimes that allow us a periodic reprieve from ourselves. But we must also develop the life skills to live without them as they may not always be available.

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