The only way to get rid of temptation is yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. -Oscar Wilde
Today’s quotation is yet another reminder that addiction recovery is so much more than simple abstinence. Our addictions do, indeed, represent a longing, but it isn’t ultimately a longing for the substances or behaviors that have become addictions in our lives. The true longing is something deeper and only temporarily provided through the mechanics of our addictions. If we want to be free of the longing that living without our addictions leaves in its wake, then we must learn what deficits our addictions are masking and expose them. In this way we yield to the underlying emotional hunger driving our addictions. If all we do is abstain, we may avoid certain pitfalls associated with the lifestyles connected to certain addictions, but we will not satisfy the underlying longing that called us toward them in the first place. But once we start to identify our emotional defects and learn to properly satisfy them, we will no longer feel as if we are simply forbidding ourselves. Only then will temptation begin to disappear and be replaced by proper feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment.