Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness. -Yousuf Karsh
Our addictions are an attempt to circumvent growth. They develop as a reaction to internal and systemic feelings of discomfort and pain that represent the shadow sides of our psyches. Hiding from these parts of ourselves probably began well before we recognized any classic addiction patterns in our adolescent or adult selves. They probably began much earlier as patterns of avoidance and denial, emotional protection erected as survival techniques layered over our vulnerable selves in an attempt to avoid hurt and disappointment. So when we make the decision to face our addictions, we are making the momentous decision to examine these layers of protection in an effort to reintroduce ourselves to our vulnerable, unprotected selves. We are deciding to face the parts of ourselves that we were attempting to protect and free them, giving them the chance to develop fully as they were not able to do when we were busy protecting them. Through our recovery, we develop character, and we are acquainted with more and more of ourselves through this process. But to do this, we must enter into the very darkness that we were once deeply committed to avoiding. Luckily, the reward is the very thing we were seeking through our addictions in the first place.