The attempt to exercise control over various aspects of our lives is a natural and rational response to the realization that the world is chaotic and unpredictable. When we perceive that things are moving into a state of chaos, our reaction is to try and bring order back to the situation as quickly as possible. This reaction in and of itself is not maladaptive, however, when attempts to control begin to characterize the way we orient ourselves to life it most certainly becomes disadvantageous. One could even argue that the descent into the chaos of addiction, although paradoxical, is an attempt to exert control over things that we perceive are not in our control. The reality is that there are a lot of things that are within our control, but by choosing drugs and alcohol, we cut ourselves off from the possibility of reclaiming these things. If we feel self-conscious, a lack of confidence, worthless, and helpless, there are ways in which we can improve these self-perceptions through action. In addition, however, we chose not to engage in the work that it takes to reclaim control over the perceived negative aspects of ourselves, but instead, we chose to wrap ourselves in a cocoon of comfort and detachment through drinking and drugging. When we made the decision to recover, on the other hand, we made the decision to choose personal growth, the adoption of personal responsibility, and to engage in life as a participant rather than a spectator.
We would be remiss not to pull from the wisdom of the serenity prayer in a discussion about control. This prayer offers the ideal prescription in regard to how to best apply the adoption of control, as well as the resignation from it. In this prayer we ask our Higher Power to help us “accept the things we cannot change”, or in other words, we ask for the strength to relinquish control. We then ask for the “courage to change the things we can”, or to exert control of the things we can realistically control. Finally, we ask for the wisdom to be able to make the distinction between the two so that we can allocate our energy to a place where it can be most productively utilized.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474