Respond instead of react
A life built on reaction will be chaotic. Reaction is unthinking, automatic, and involuntary—not optimal building blocks for a functional life. The addicted life is one based on reaction. Response, on the other hand, is voluntary, specific, and conscious. A recovered life is one based on response. It is important, then, to learn to recognize the difference between a reaction and a response. A reaction is often preceded by an unrecognized feeling of fear and desperation and followed by a feeling of regret and loss of control. Response, on the other hand, is usually preceded by the awareness of a strong feeling but followed by a feeling of confidence and less internal chaos. Reactions, like addictions themselves often represent automatic attempts at protection. For this reason, to change from a paradigm of reaction to one of response means we must develop the emotional awareness to navigate our feelings—even the painful ones—consciously. This may require us to learn to do so, but the results are worth it. Addiction represents an attempt to temper painful emotional states. So if we learn to navigate these parts of ourselves mindfully, the mechanics of addiction naturally become less necessary.