The Opposite of Addiction
Often, when someone quits using drugs, they are then confronted with the reason they started using them in the first place. Emotional upheaval can occur. Drugs are not usually the problem but rather an ineffective solution for a deeper problem. More often than not, that deeper problem has to do with toxic relationships. Fairly early in my years working with people with complex needs, I noticed that in virtually every case, the individuals involved had extremely negative relationships with one or more people. This is certainly true for people suffering from substance abuse addictions, who have often been traumatized by others.
But if bad relationships are a significant factor in someone becoming addicted, perhaps good relationships can be a factor in their recovery. This is the claim of an enlightening animated video which declares the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection. We at NeighbourLink are thoroughly convinced that we can better the lives of many people we work with if we can help them build healthier, more stable relationships. Not only that, we ourselves will have more enriched lives if we can have closer connections with others.
However, whether the task is facilitating good connections between others or improving our own relationships, a big challenge confronts us--we are imperfect human beings and getting close to others inevitably leads to friction and conflict. In The Brothers Karamazov Dostoevsky highlights our dilemma through the words of one of his characters. This man proclaims that he loves humanity in general, but the more he does so, the less he loves individuals in particular. In his imagination, he's seen himself dying in the service of humanity but realizes he can't stand the thought of spending two days in the same room with even the best of men. Nevertheless, he's found that the more he dislikes a particular individual, the stronger grows his love for humanity in general!
If we are to have meaningful relationships, we are going to have to find a way to overcome our interpersonal conflicts. In my years working in WrapAround, time and time again a major source of healing could be found in the biblical basics of confession and forgiveness--confessing my part in the conflict and forgiving others for their part. In the next post, we'll look at a great practical tool for resolving conflicts from the book Crucial Conversations.
In the meantime, if you are interested in helping others less fortunate than yourself, if you want to "get out of the pew and into the action," why not consider volunteering with NeighbourLink? To begin with, take a look at our NeighbourLink Volunteer Application and fill it out if you feel so inclined. There's something there for almost everyone. We'd love to have a conversation with you!