The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas. -Lao Tzu
This ancient quotation is an important reminder. First it makes reference to the importance of moderation—often an elusive emotional state for those prone to addiction. More importantly, it speaks to the importance of allowing oneself to be flexible even in the face of one’s own ideas. Addictive behaviors represent a dysfunctional pursuit of comfort. Successful recovery, then, must be rooted in the functional pursuit of emotional comfort and simultaneously learning to be aware of what may be continuing to create unnecessary discomfort in our lives. Often it is the very way we approach life that causes the discomfort we are attempting to thwart through our addictive behaviors. The very stories that we consciously or unconsciously use to navigate life may cause much of the discomfort in our lives. If we are not committed to the process of self-analysis and personal growth, we don’t stand as strong a chance of overcoming the underlying drive behind our addictions. So while it is natural to story our lives in a way that helps us navigate, we should also stay committed to examining these stories to ensure that they are continuing to help us grow instead of becoming rigid rules we uncomfortably and unconsciously continue to follow.