Things do not change; we change -Henry David Thoreau
The process of addiction recovery is one deep inner change. Often, we initially facilitate this inner process with changes made to the external structure of our lives—moving to new surroundings to avoid emotional and familiar triggers, finding new friendships, going to an inpatient treatment facility, etc.—but these external changes are most useful to support a deeper healing. What becomes an obsession with a particular substance or behavior, usually starts as an unconscious pattern of self-soothing. Over time, we simply become obsessed with that to which we are addicted, unaware of this underlying attempt to regulate our internal experience. In recovery, even if we do initially make changes to the outer structure of our lives, the goal is to use this structure to support the development of a new inner experience of ourselves and the emotional tools with which we navigate our lives. Our addictions were all about changing our inner reality, often using dysfunctional, destructive and temporary means. Recovery honors this need for change, but when we approach this process consciously, we can find new functional, growth-oriented, and sustainable habits.