They can be afraid of recovery for some real reasons – some before they get started and some after they have successfully stopped the habit.

    • The chemical or behavior has been their saving crutch.  They are afraid to lose it.
    • They are afraid to go back to the fears and pains that their escape affords them
    • They know that recovery can take years or even a lifetime.  35 days of help leaves them stranded.

You see, recovery is more than just kicking the habit.  It is getting back to life.  Their fears may be well founded, but they are based on a common way of managing that is inadequate, unfair, and deflating.  Let us look at it.

If you open the door to a room and the wind blows papers off your desk and around the room, you can start running around picking up papers. If there are a lot of papers, you may find that, as you pick some up, others will blow away.  You will use a heavy weight to hold some down.  You may run around faster trying to counteract the effect of the unhindered wind.


Or you may close the door.


In recovery from addictions, conventional wisdom, fearing the immediate  disaster, has encouraged focus on the visible state.  Even if you are reading this under the influence, you will be able to apply the metaphor of running around picking up papers or placing a heavy weight to keep them fixed.  Conventional wisdom does not have time or even expertise to look for the open door because the never-ending task of clearing the effects can be so engaging.


So, it is easy to see the addiction as an illness (even though this has never been proven) or an immorality.  Depending on the perspective it evokes treatment by “care-giving” or restraint.  The open door, metaphorically describing the inner feelings of angst, fear, insecurity, anger, or rejection cannot be addressed because it is seen as the effect, not the cause.  The consideration is that they will be restored when the addiction is managed.


Every addict fears this is not true.  Every addict is afraid being stranded with the feelings they never liked, losing the only way that worked, and being lost in a world that has left them far behind.


The open door metaphor is significant here.  It is how they have learned to feel comfortable in life.  Let’s see what I mean.

In the case of addictive behavior, the open door is the state of mind of the person.  Everyone wants to feel good – in what we do, with the people we meet, in how we see ourselves.


If they have learned to do that naturally, they will; if they have not learned to do that, they will seek artificial ways of getting it – even after successful sobriety.  When, the artificial door is too wide open, it means that the natural door is too insufficiently expanded, because…

they never had the opportunity to develop natural experiences that give pleasure and satisfaction

artificial gratification becomes the only one they know how to get.

they may have had some opportunity but these were suppressed by an intense drive to succeed or make an impression leaving little time to enjoy or implant them

artificial sources offer a fast, easy, and powerful option for the little time they allow for themselves.

they may have been encouraged to value artificial sources of gratification because of privilege or permissiveness

They seek artificial options because these are their greatest aspiration and measure of worth.

Therefore, truly effective recovery is not only the removal, suppression, or treatment of the visible habit (easy option).  It is the primary restoration of something they need as an essential ingredient to living but are not sufficiently practiced or exposed to get at this stage.

We must show them how to feel good – in what they do, with the people they meet, and within themselves.  Then it is easy to guide them to give up what is no longer their only or most easily accessible option.

because everyone wants and prefers the natural feeling of gratification, value, satisfaction!

Let us help you build better choices