Battling addiction is a lot like looking out onto the ocean: Addiction is a big enemy that can swallow me whole. When I look out into the ocean, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed. I know that if I tried to swim out into its unknown secrets, I’d be swallowed and I’d never return. If I let it, the thought that I would disappear against the currents can get to me: I have no doubt that I’m simply too small to engage the ocean’s open water. But then, just as I’m sinking into sadness, I remember a happy little kid riding a tiny boogie board laughing as a small wave took her into the sandy beach. She laughed and ran back into the water to find another wave that she can ride. That little kid made me want to grab a boogie board and find a simple wave to ride as well.
Alone, I can’t fight addiction; but every once in a while; I’ll run into something that’ll give me the energy to re-engage the fight. A client may tell me that he had a great meal with his family, or another client may express great happiness in some time she spent with her kids. Or, a medical association will release a complete definition of addiction that explains it as the brain disease that addiction really is (the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s definition of addiction can be found at: www.asam.org/DefinitionofAddiction-LongVersion.html). In any case, when those things happen, I feel energized and ready to re-engage the fight. It’s like I realize that, though fighting Addiction is complex and difficult, if I set my shoulders and fight forward with each step I take, I make progress.
Really though, any big undertaking is like that: Overwhelming if we try and take it all on at once. I think it’s better to become aware of little events to celebrate so that we can have the energy to take on the next wave within the undertaking. We may not win against the ocean, but we can ride one wave at a time and feel like happy little kids as we celebrate the joys of simple gains. I might not win every battle, but I don’t have to. As long as a I fight the good fight, I believe I will leave this world a little better than when I found it. Isn’t that the point, anyway? Even against a wave of bad juju, there’s always a reason to celebrate.