Slow Change

If you want to work with addicts you must understand and accept the concept of very slow change. First of all, few of them want to change initially, and those who do are easily distracted.

They may be very motivated to change impulsively, but at the first minor opportunity, they are just as motivated to justify their drug use and maintain the status quo. They weren’t necessarily lying when they said they were going to quit. They just didn’t have a clue how hard it would be.

We call ourselves grateful recovering addicts, because we know many changes that led us to a successful recovery happened almost by accident, and that we could have just as easily gotten distracted again and returned to drug use. The nature of addiction is to trip you up with one distraction after another.

Change is slow, and early recovery is very six of one and half a dozen of the other, meaning that the newly recovering person is prone to impulsivity, and can go either direction at the drop of a hat. The positive part of this being that the addict learns through every relapse just how easy it is to get sidetracked, and what not to do if he wants to avoid it. Again, that doesn’t mean he always avoids it or wants to do so initially, but his awareness is eventually internalized. With enough addiction related emotional pain, change can occur, but be aware it is very slow much of the time.

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