As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
-Henry David Thoreau
The path to successful recovery from addiction is necessarily one of change. The process of freeing ourselves from addictive patterns resists itself profoundly as our addictions represent rigid patterns that attempt to quell deeply uncomfortable parts of our psyches. Like a wheel that rolls deeply imbedded in a rut, it is very difficult to change these patterns—there is a tendency to fall back into the rut. If we can be diligent in creating consistent behaviors—and eventually thought patterns—that stand to defeat old addictive ones, new patterns emerge. There will necessarily be a period of discomfort as we are challenged by the addictions themselves to return to the old methods of emotional escape. This is the part of the process best tended to with the help of others—group support or therapy, for instance. But if we can persist, then novel patterns can evolve, and a new experience of life can be created. Eventually, the struggle to create healthy behavioral and emotional patterns will lead to a new normal, one that naturally creates the change that was desired from the start.