“The north wind made the Vikings” is a Scandanavian proverb that reminds us that challenging circumstances can be a blessing rather than a curse. The Vikings were known throughout medieval Europe as fierce warriors and ruthless raiders but they were more than that. They were bold explorers, sailing east to Russia and west to North America. And why did they do that? Often just to see what’s there but also looking for new opportunities. The risks they incurred are hard for modern people to fathom. Imagine climbing into an open boat with a dozen or so people and setting sail on the freezing North Sea, unsure when or if you would find land. Many Europeans had never seen anything like these Norse raiders but if they had known anything about their cold, rocky homeland, they might have understood why the Vikings were so fearsome.
Using Adversity to Grow
While few of us ever live in conditions that would have been normal for Vikings, we all have our own challenges in life. These often feel unfair–indeed, they often are unfair–but these challenges are also opportunities to become stronger. Overcoming addiction is one of the hardest challenges someone can face. The roots of addiction often go back to childhood abuse or neglect or even to your DNA itself. Your body physically craves drugs and alcohol and psychologically, you feel like you need substances to cope. It feels like everything is against your getting sober, including your own body and mind. None of this is fair, of course, and people might even sympathize if you chose to feel sorry for yourself rather than fight.
However, another way to look at it is that addiction is your north wind. It’s awful to endure, but if you can come out the other side, you will have gained a lot. For example, recovering from addiction forces you to take a hard look at yourself, your thinking, your past, and your motivations. Most people don’t have the stomach for this kind of unsparing introspection, but if you want to recover from addiction, you don’t have a choice. You learn to come to terms with your past and learn to be comfortable with who you are. You learn healthy ways to cope with difficult emotions and you build stronger relationships with people who matter. In the end, your life can be better than it would have been without this massive challenge to overcome.
Victory is Not Guaranteed
Unfortunately, there is no assurance that you will end up better for having fought addiction but there are good reasons to try anyway. First, there is a good chance you will succeed. Addiction is challenging but recovery often appears harder than it actually is–which is not to say it’s easy, just doable. Second, even if you don’t succeed right away, you gain from the effort. You learn new skills and find new strength you might not have known you had. These gains may serve you well in the future. Also, “the north wind made the Vikings” reminds us that comfort and ease aren’t the way to happiness and fulfillment. Effort in pursuit of something worthwhile is.
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