Pain is the most heeded of doctors; to goodness and wisdom we only make promises; we obey pain.
-Marcel Proust

Successful recovery from addiction is almost always preceded with great pain. This pain comes in many forms, physical as well as psychological. And for a while we will probably attempt to deal with this pain through more use of our addictive substances or behaviors. But eventually this will stop working or will not work well enough to mask the inescapable truth that we must move away from our addiction. This is a most painful time—as we realize that that which seems our only break from discomfort is that which we must learn to live without—but also an immensely important time. It is important because we can use this pain as a teacher and move toward the direction that it points. Over time, we can learn to recognize this type of pain sooner, before it causes harm, to indicate necessary changes. Eventually, with effort, experience and sensitivity, we can learn to sense it before it is even painful. But in any area of life where we are not treating ourselves well, pain will be waiting to remove our blindfolds long enough to give us a glimpse of the truth. The sooner we acknowledge it, the sooner we can implement its message and move through it. Eventually and ultimately, pain can be viewed not as something that needs to be avoided, but as an opportunity or signpost directing us toward health.

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