Happiness, not in another place, but this place…not in another hour, but this hour. -Walt Whitman
Addictions can serve many purposes, but one of the most important is to create—or usually wrest—a sense of comfort in the present moment. Often the very pursuit of that to which we become addicted creates an easy alternative to having to experience the present angst-filled moment, as getting what we need can take up so much time and energy, further distracting us from having to fully experience life. But at its deeper levels, recovery must eventually answer this very call from our internal discomfort and develop into the process of befriending the present moment. Addictions are created as protection, a way of making life feel safer. Once we get that to which we are addicted out of the way, we are left with the underlying emotional discomfort that we have been trying to ignore and avoid. Then, and only then, can we learn to support ourselves through the discomfort associated with experiencing the present moment unanesthetized, unprotected. If we can find a safe way to approach this process of healing, we will eventually find comfort in experiencing life and the need to distract will naturally dissipate. When the here and now becomes consistently and reliably palatable, and eventually, precious, our work is done.