The question is not what you look at, but what you see. -Henry David Thoreau
Beyond just the pursuit of physical abstinence, recovery from addiction is marked by a developing change in perspective. It is a process of internal emotional growth as much as it is a process of enacting external change. When we are trapped within our addictive patterns we usually can’t help but identify with them. Furthermore, we identify with the emotional baggage that accompanies the addiction. Without even noticing it, we may see ourselves as being intrinsically lazy, immature, inept, unlovable, unreliable, depressed, or hopelessly distractible, for instance. As we enter into recovery from our addictions, the new emotional patterns that we start to create should clash with these held beliefs and attitudes we have about ourselves. Often we must consciously change the way we describe ourselves to ourselves or we will fall back into our old patterns as a matter of habit. The best way out of this is to train ourselves to see the changes we are making and see the changing person that is developing. It is difficult to let go of these old identities because they are an important part of the narrative supporting the protective patterns that lead to our addictions. But if we are to successfully face and rid ourselves of addiction, we must begin to see ourselves as the changed people we are becoming.