We have two lives…the one we learn with and the one we live after that.”
In recovery circles it is often noted that the motivation to change is found through the experience of emotional discomfort and pain. And although it is possible to learn without pain, often the big changes require this discomfort to break through the various layers of defenses and denial that keep the addictions alive. So one way to look at our lives in active addiction is that they were the lives we “learned with.” This doesn’t mean that there were no other purposes to the chunks of our lives that were spent in various addictions, nor does it mean that we find recovery and stop learning. But for most with serious addictions problems, there is a real feeling that a very different life began only after the addiction had been faced. Often a new chapter of life begins only after we have left the addiction behind even if, looking back, we realize that we wouldn’t have made the change without the pain and discomfort brought out by the addiction itself.