Recovery: Does it have to be a struggle?


JJ has invited me to join her group's Photo Blog at Thank you for your thought and concerned but I have to put her request on hold. You see, I don't have the knowledge and tool to post a picture. If I have, I would have done so in my own Blog. I have always want to do so but time is not on my side. I guess now is the time to speed up my study in photo posting or I might miss this wonderful offer to join the elite Bloggers at half-nAAked Thursday.

Here is an article under the heading of 'Addiction Recovery' which I uncovered at It was written by Oran Stewart and was published on March 11th, 2001. It is said that the journey to recovery is a continuous uphill journey. We have to be aware and ready or we might start the downhill run again. OK, here's the article. Make yourself a cup of coffee and start reading. Here goes ...

Recovery: does it have to be a struggle?
Author: Oran Stewart
Published on: March 11, 2001

I think the word to describe it is “ornery” which, to those who don’t know the word, means something like ‘very stubborn’. Like many other kids, once my parents told me not to do something I decided that was more reason than ever to do it. When they told me not to eat the cherry-flavored cough drops as if they were candy, that’s what I did. And when they told me how evil it was to smoke cigarettes, I did that too.

Over time, we can learn to resist general wisdom, and begin to think that we know better than certain authorities, our parents being one example. When there may come a time to stop doing the drugs or alcohol, because we’ve learned that those bad habits are getting the better of us, resisting such temptations can be extremely difficult to manage. Resisting temptation certainly has some of its roots in organized religions, but that’s a subject for another day.

Human beings, as any living creatures, are beings of action, and it seems that trying to change a habit is simply very difficult for anyone. Trying to change, trying NOT to do something, something we’ve been doing for years, such as using drugs, rubs against our nature. Trying to change takes conscious efforts, self-knowledge and self-awareness to mindfully NOT take that drink or light up that cigarette. One has to keep this new direction in mind, as one tries to stop drinking or smoking, but in this consciousness of trying to stop comes the alternate option of choosing to start up again. I know when I try to stop smoking and stay stopped, I obviously consider the original behavior of smoking again. Perhaps it is a form of paradox in the way we think. I honestly don’t know for sure.

There's a word, “control”, which is a commonly used concept in discussions of drinking and recovery from drinking. I notice the word used quite often among those who are in the early stages of considering sobriety.
"But, I have my drinking under control", or whatever. Or, “If he could only control his drinking…”. Along with this idea is that of the "white-knuckles" of keeping our craving for booze “under control” during early sobriety. To clarify, those folks who are just beginning their sobriety very often express how difficult it is for them to resist the urge of drinking again. For many, abstaining from one’s favorite drug of use can be foremost in their thinking for days, weeks, and months. Trying to stay sober can mean not going to the bars and lounges they visited habitually before, driving by the liquor stores without stopping, and even breaking up old friendships from the people with whom they used to get drunk. For most, it is indeed a struggle, but depending on one’s point of view, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so hard, so tough.

Trying to get to the point here: we can look at sobriety from different viewpoints. We can see sobriety as a way of living, except every day we struggle to keep from booze. Or, we can view sobriety as a new way of life, where drinking is what other people can do but where it's not a good option for us anymore. One way sees sobriety as something lacking, living without. The other way sees life as just a different though healthier way to live.

I would like to suggest to you that the latter approach to sobriety can be a simpler road to travel. It can take some time and much struggle to get to this point, but once you do it does make life much more pleasant. One counselor that I know well told me about his idea of “surrender”, i.e., that once the alcoholic or drug user can learn to surrender to the overwhelming powers of addiction in his life, then he can begin to change and move towards a healthier, more positive life.

One of the early 12 steps involves the person to admit that he or she is powerless over her addiction. A step that follows that one is where she commits herself to seeking the help of someone besides herself, be they the assistance of family and friends, or a Higher Power. Of course, many recite these and other steps but aren’t yet able to completely throw themselves into the changes they ought to make. However, those that do surrender themselves to a recovery program can come to know that sobriety can be much more than NOT doing something they used to do. They can sometime realize that taking a different road, another path, and thus not thinking of drinking or using anymore, is a more peaceful route to living.

By looking at their recovery, sobriety, in a new and different light, they can learn to enjoy sober living again. Instead of constantly dwelling on what they can NOT do any longer, they can understand the multitude of many things that exist without the use of booze or drugs. They can admit that drinking and using are things that maybe others can get away with, but that it’s no longer sane for themselves to do.

Oran Stewart - Profile

If anyone needs evidence that I am still in the grips of "middle-age-crazy", they only have to glance at my latest toy, a 2000 4Runner SUV. It's a very nice looking truck, and certainly there are a number of practical reasons for having four-wheel-drive in northern PA, plus the frequent need we have for reliable travel with the capacity to haul boards and hardware. At least I am aware that I am often driven too much in my desire for bigger and better things. A few years ago, when I was still doing the college professor career, my awareness of practically everything was much, much less clear. Back then I thought I was in control of a sparkling, promising university teaching and research lifestyle, but as it turned out something else was controlling me and it didn't want to let go.

Consuming huge amounts of alcohol on a daily basis became an addiction, at least in my case. And that was just a part of my problems, although at the time I thought it was a solution and not a cause. There's much more to be said by many others about the life-saving and spirit-saving that is done via sobriety and later recovery, but for now I can say that I'm fairly content with how things are now.

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5 Comments thus far...

Trudging said...

All good stuff! Thank you for posting.

Rex said...

Great Article...thanks for posting it.


Hey, I just got here from the Top 100 Sober Blog

Grace said...

Thankyou for your visit Noor and this article was just what I needed just now, thankyou again :-)

Noor Azman Othman GBE said...

I'm glad you like it.

Greeting from Malaysia.

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