If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
-Attributed to Thomas Jefferson
Our addictions represent old ways we have navigated the world. They likely developed as a reaction to layers of discomfort that we may or may not have been aware of. But if we are trying to rid ourselves of our addictions, then we are also saying that these navigation systems have become dysfunctional and outdated. So we can’t simply focus on giving them up, we must simultaneously work on updating them with emotional navigation skills that will serve us functionally. But this necessarily means doing and learning things we have not yet done or learned. In this way, recovery is a learning process. But it isn’t simply about learning new logistical information. It means that we learn about and develop new parts of ourselves. We will have to learn about the layers of hurt and reactive protection that eventually manifested themselves as our addiction problems. We must then learn to accept and integrate the parts of ourselves that we attempted to soothe through the mechanics of our addictions. If we are willing to do this thing we have not done, then we may just get something we’ve never had.