Help. Hope. Healing.

Investment

By Rex Goode

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In the 1840’s, it took a couple of months to get a letter from the east coast to the west cost, all the way around the southern tip of South America. Eventually, the advent of the pony express cut it down to around 11 days. Since that time, the delivery of messages has improved to the point where you can get a message via cell phone or computer to many points on the glob in a matter of seconds.

It’s not just communication. Medicine has made many great advances, especially with pharmaceuticals. Get a fever. Take a pill. Feel better fast.

This is progress, but it comes at a price.  In this fast-paced world, slowing down to deal with things that can’t be done quickly is a dying skill. Many people are paying the price.

I speak of addicts and it includes me. To me, addiction is the price that is paid for getting on the progress train. There are many things that people get addicted to these days. As I think about things like drugs, alcohol, pornography, shopping, over-eating, it seems to me that these are all shortcuts to getting certain needs met. We choose the shortcuts because we have grown accustomed to getting what we want quickly.

One of the most disheartening things I hear addicts who are trying to find peace say is that they don’t have time to do the things we tell them must be done in order to get well. What most people in our modern age are looking for is a quick fix that will not require any kind of long-term time commitment.

It’s ironic to me that this happens in light of the undeniable fact that wanting a quick fix is precisely what drives their addictions. It’s equally ironic that when you suggest to someone who is spending inordinate amounts of time seeking their drug of choice that they spend at least that much time doing things that promote recovery, they do not have the time.

I suspect that there is some truth to this excuse. What time they could have spent on recovery was probably already spent in addiction. Nevertheless, you can’t get away from the idea that recovery is not a quick fix. It takes time. It takes commitment. It especially takes endurance.

I was shocked recently when a friend was told that he was being given assistance to pay for counseling that was to last 6 visits, no more. My friend has spent the majority of his forty-some years developing the problems. To expect that he could reverse the problems with a mere six visits was grossly unrealistic. Welcome to the age of managed care.

Dealing with addiction requires a lot of work and dedication. It also calls for a different mindset. It calls for shedding the lifestyle of instant gratification. It begs for a person to slow down and learn a new way of life, one that doesn’t get every need met as quickly as possible, and one that involves a little bit of old-fashioned deprivation.

We call certain things needs, but almost all lack of getting needs met can survive a little time of feeling deprived. I urge everyone reading this to make a commitment to do whatever it takes to deal appropriately with your addiction. It will mean an investment of time. Beware the quick fix.

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4 Responses to “Investment”

  1. urb0123 said:

    It takes hours weekly working on recovery. Scriptures, sincere prayer, and working on the handbook. It is hard to get in and stay in the habit.

  2. Rex Goode said:

    But oh so worth it!

  3. julie said:

    I too want a quick fix, but then I get angry with those who think that I should just get over my issues. I’ve been living this way for years so how can I undo everything in just a few sessions like you say Rex. I have a hard time being patient with my own recovery and sometimes can’t even see any progress. Often I have to ask friends if they see any difference in me and they usually do, so I’ve learned to trust that what they say is really working for me and that I am improving. In SA they often say, “progress, not perfection.” But it would help me a lot more if I did invest a little more time into my recovery than what I already do. I think the reason it can become a hard thing to do is because it’s going against the natural man. It’s much easier to just be and do whatever you feel like, but making yourself into a better person takes a little more effort and yes, it is worth it. But it’s hard to know that worth when you are caught in the instant gratification like us addicts are so accustomed to.

  4. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks for sharing that, Julie. It all rings true for me too.

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