Here is an article from Recreate Life’s very own Primary Therapist, Cole Timonere:
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates
Profound changes have taken place in society and in the world over the past year. While there is never a shortage of change in any year, it seems that a complete paradigm shift took place when the pandemic emerged.
Oftentimes addicts, and by extension their families, perceive change in any form as inherently bad. While many may report that anxiety is to blame for the negative perception of change, it is often times more accurate to acknowledge the emotion of fear. If we reflect on good change in life, we can likely articulate evidence of fear present there too. While it is true that change varies in degree and in attribute, it is also true that we can respond in an adaptive or maladaptive way even amidst the presence of fear.
How then, do we do this? The first step of change is awareness. That seems to be pretty straightforward. There are times we do not have foresight, however, there is awareness at least when the change occurs. The second step is acceptance. This is often an arduous step and sometimes, to really embody its message, we utilize the term radical acceptance. Radical acceptance symbolizes the emotional pull that exists when the change feels so sweeping, and yet we know acceptance can be the only way to respond adaptively. Of course, one could rebel and fail to accept the change. Unfortunately, to do so never ends well and too often leads to extreme mental agony and emotional dysregulation. What’s more is that whether there is acceptance of the change or not, the change occurs, and failure to acknowledge said change ultimately constitutes a lack of acceptance of reality.
So now, how do we accept the hard things? Well, ultimately, we know we must. However, the choice we have is how eloquently we are able to conceptualize the change in our minds. And so, what if we listen to Socrates and radically accept all change, where we breathe it in, focus our energy not on resistance of it, but acceptance of what is in the moment and how we can embrace our new reality.