One of the greatest freedoms is how we react to things. -Charlie Mackey
Our addictions start as unconscious reactions. By the time they have properly established themselves as addictive patterns, they have become habitual. Addictions develop as a shortcut to dealing with emotional discomfort or pain. For a while, these shortcuts work, allowing us to avoid processing these painful emotions directly without causing noticeable problems. But eventually, truly addictive patterns require a degree of attention that inevitably outweighs our motivation or ability to take care of the rest of our lives properly. Our recovery, too, is a reaction. But it must be a conscious reaction to the addictive process. We must learn about the parts of ourselves that we are reacting to so that we can choose to respond both to the underlying pain that we have been avoiding as well as to develop the coping skills so that we no longer need to circumnavigate emotional discomfort in the future. This learning process inevitably takes time and need not be perfect. We will never, in fact, be totally aware of all that influences our decision making processes, moment-to-moment. But if we commit ourselves, we can develop a deeper ability to react consciously to life instead of reacting unconsciously through the mechanics of our addictions.