Things do not change; we change
-Henry David Thoreau
The process of addiction recovery is one of personal change. Often, we will initially facilitate this inner process with changes made to the outer structure of our lives—moving to new surroundings to avoid emotional and familiar triggers, hanging around different people, going to an inpatient treatment facility, etc.—but these outward changes are only made to support the inner processes of change. What usually becomes an obsession with a particular substance, few substances, or behaviors, always started out as an unconscious pattern of avoidance and self-soothing. Over time, we simply become obsessed with that to which we are addicted and forget, if we ever really knew at all, that this process is about changing our inner experience of reality, not simply an automatic reaction to the ever-tightening hold on our decision making processes that we call addiction. In recovery, even if we do initially make changes to the outer structure of our lives, the goal is to use this structure to support the development of a new inner experience of ourselves and the very consciousness with which we navigate life. Our addictions were all about changing our inner reality, albeit in dysfunctional, destructive and temporary ways. Recovery is an extension of this process, but ultimately one that should change us in a functional, sustainable, and long-term way.