How to Manage an Addiction

How to Manage an Addiction


Yeah right.

Talk about an oxymoron. Addiction is defined by being unmanageable. If you could manage it, then it would not, by definition, be an addiction.

If you think that you just really like to use drugs and alcohol but are not truly addicted, then by all means, manage your drug use. Manage it as best you can because maybe you really are not an addict. But pay close attention to how that is working out for you over the long run. Pay close attention if you happen to keep finding yourself getting into trouble because of drugs or alcohol.

The ability to ignore all the warning signs is called denial. The ability to convince ourselves that we can hold it all together when our life is a train wreck comes from denial. If you are trying to manage your drug use, and are mostly failing at it, then you’re probably stuck in denial.

Only an addict has to come up with a system to try and control their drug use. No “normal” person ever has this problem. Normal people do not consider ways to keep using drugs but somehow keep it under control. They don’t have a management problem when it comes taking drugs. They don’t have to manage it at all. It is simply not a problem for them.

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The need to manage an addiction only confirms that the problem exists. If you are trying to control your using, this proves there is a struggle going on.

Anyone who has engaged in the struggle to control their using knows that it is a real fight. The key, of course, is to stop fighting. The key to changing your life is to take massive action and get radical.

Given a problem with addiction, you have 2 choices

The first choice is to try to manage the addiction. This is what we addicts generally do for years and years in an attempt to maintain some control over our using and not completely destroy our lives. This is the big struggle; the fight of our lives.

The alternative to managing an addiction is to manage your recovery instead. This cross-over point is known as surrender. The decision to make the switch is almost a passive one. It is letting go of the struggle to manage the addiction. This is when we stop fighting.

If you have reached this point of surrender then it is probably a good idea to ask for help. The reason we need help is for 2 reasons:

1) We are lousy managers

2) We know nothing about managing recovery

Both of these things get better with time as you go through your recovery. That’s because recovery is a learning process. Not only will you learn about how to live a sober life, you’ll also become more effective at managing your life and your recovery.

In other words, not only will you learn how to live sober, but you’ll get better and better at, because you’re effectively becoming a better “manager” of recovery.

Now this can get a bit tricky for some, because they will realize that they have become much more effective at managing their life, and a little voice in the back of their head will suggest that they would probably be a lot better at managing some other things that they used to struggle with… addiction. We think it might be different “this time” due to our new management skills.

Obviously this is a huge trap, as picking up a drink or a drug basically erases any skill we used to have at managing anything. Never forget this – when we use drugs or alcohol we lose the power of choice. Once we pick up, it’s all over. Our management skill in life or drug use or whatever it is goes completely out the window. We are back at the mercy of addiction. Any control we thought we had was an illusion to begin with. You might look into seeking out someone else to manage your addiction, such as with a sponsor in recovery or by using personal life coaching.

Keep this in mind as you go through recovery and become better at managing your life. You can never manage your addiction with any success.

Stick to managing your recovery instead.


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