Being addicted to opioids and wanting to quit can feel a lot like “slavery.”
For me, it felt like I was a bird stuck in a cage, seeing the outside beautiful world and not being free to enjoy it.
During these dark times, I was not able to connect the dots looking forward to seeing how this “Great Hardship” would really turn out to be my biggest gift.
I didn’t know it at the time, but being addicted to opioids was a “Call to Adventure.”
It was a challenge that I believe was in my life for a reason.
Or maybe it wasn’t.
Maybe nothing happens for a reason, but if that truly is the case, then I feel it’s to my advantage to give it a reason.
And the reason I’ve come up with for my addiction is so I could become stronger in body, mind, emotions, and spirit than I could ever imagine…
Then to use this experience to help others overcome the same challenge I faced and surmounted victoriously.
Accepting “The Call”
After researching and teaching opioid addiction recovery for close to eight years now, I’ve found out some very helpful principles for beating addiction.
One of the most powerful and success-creating principles I’ve realized is “Accepting The Call to Transformation.”
For the people that manage to reframe their addiction as a “challenge they accept and wholeheartedly embrace” — as a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime chance to show themselves just how powerful they are…
Well, these are the individuals that have a significant advantage.
It’s by no means a mandatory mindset to have to overcome opioid addiction, but it does help.
When I look back on the 20-year polysubstance-abuse phase of my life, I now view it lovingly as the greatest blessing I’ve received (other than becoming a father to my little girl, Willow Finch).
I didn’t think of it as a blessing at the time, and I did still recover, so I want to reiterate that having this principle in the here-and-now is not at all necessary.
It’s also a rare resource.
But cultivating it can and does help people relax into the process of quitting a lot more.
It reframes addiction to something positive, rather than negative.
Pain & Pleasure
Everything we do in life — be it brushing our teeth, exercising, using drugs, watching TV, etc. — we do for only two reasons.
We either seek to gain pleasure, or we are trying to avoid pain.
So when you associate the process of quitting opioids as painful, it often creates the “bird stuck in a cage” effect I mentioned earlier.
And when you associate a life of not using opioids as painful as well, that can be double trouble, stacking the odds against you even more so.
However, if you can foster a mindset of viewing your opioid dependence as a gift because it’s a call to transformation, and you simultaneously look forward to living your new life without the drug, as Effie Trinket says in The Hunger Games, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”
Your Next Step…
If you’re currently seeing your opioid addiction as an extremely negative situation, I understand what you’re going through.
That’s how I viewed my addiction as well, as do most of us.
But it’s not the only way to think of it.
The following writing exercise can help you shift your perception to view your dependence in a better light.
If you do it, you’ll reap countless rewards that will enhance your chances of succeeding in quitting on your next attempt.
Exercise: Place pen to paper and write all of the ways in which your current addiction might be a blessing in disguise. If you do overcome it, how much stronger could you become? How will this victory make future challenges that come before you easier to handle? Who might you be able to help as a result of your experience? How proud will you be of yourself? What lessons can you learn from addiction and recovering that will serve you in other areas of life?
The point of this exercise is to reframe addiction as an opportunity to grow stronger in body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
When you become stronger as a result of a significant life challenge, it makes other obstacles down the line easier to overcome.
Life is a series of challenges, roadblocks, obstacles, and fears.
It only ends when we die.
And the sooner we can begin to start viewing these obstacles, roadblocks, challenges, and difficulties as blessings that will lead to growth, the sooner we’ll find peace.