Life is the constant opportunity to wake up.
-Byron Katie

Inherent in every painful situation is the opportunity for change. And our addictions, viewed in this light, present one of the most blatant opportunities to make changes in our lives that might not only keep us from peril, but will certainly allow us to live more functionally and more fulfilled. Often in the beginning, however, it can seem that what we are really doing is shrinking, not expanding. In the beginning it can seem as if we are letting go of patterns and tools that are making life palatable or even worth living. But once we get through the initial pain that usually accompanies the beginning stages of addiction recovery, we stand a chance at waking up to the aspects of ourselves and our emotional experiences that we have been ignoring through the mechanics of our addictions. Recovery is so much more than abstinence. Abstinence, in fact, does little more than create the space for us to learn to grow—it should never define our recovery. It is only after we have used the space provided by abstinence as an opportunity to create functional means of fulfillment that we can experience the true benefits of recovery and, ironically, find what we were searching for through our addictions in the first place.

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