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Angst

By: Dr. Harris Stratyner, Ph.D.

Dr. Harris Stratyner, Ph.D., vice president of Caron Treatment Center and clinical director of the New York region, is internationally known for developing and implementing the groundbreaking clinical model of "Carefrontation," a treatment approach that doesn't shame or blame the patient. It recognizes addiction as a disease and stresses each individual's responsibility to work with healthcare providers to reach the goal of complete abstinence.  

Gaining power by admitting powerlessness

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Dec 11, 2014

by Dr. Harris Stratyner


"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we read quotes like Ralph Waldo Emerson's we begin to think of things like the serenity prayer, Buddhist philosophy and sayings like, "one day at a time," as well as various religious practices, such as "turn the other cheek," "there but for the grace of God go I," and passages such as, "we must learn to let go as easily as we grasp or we will find our hands full and our minds empty." 

We have all heard that addiction is an insidious disease. Indeed it is, but also we must understand the philosophy and nature of our thoughts so that they can lead us in the direction that allows us to let go of the past and stay in the moment with an eye towards the future. We bear the responsibility for taking action so that we are cognizant of the insidious nature of the addictive process. 

It is simply not enough to accept the fact that addiction is cunning, baffling and insidious. We must realize that we have the power to admit we are powerless and as a result achieve the goal of sobriety – not just allowing ourselves to abstain from drugs and alcohol, but understanding that to be a sober individual truly means to "do the right thing."

Life goes by faster and faster, and when it comes down to it, one must realize that all the money in the world, all the power in the world, all the fame in the world, does not really mean that much when one is facing what Eric Erickson termed "ego integrity versus despair," – the end of life when sober judgment – knowing that you were a good individual who always tried to do the right thing, not shirk responsibility, but embrace a just existence that always concerned itself with others in addition to yourself.

Because addiction is indeed in insidious does not mean that you cannot foster the ability to prevent it from consuming your life. The whole notion around the concept of the previously aforementioned sense of "powerlessness" has to do with admitting you're powerless and therefore gaining power – a very Zen concept. Whether "letting go and letting God," or "turning the other cheek," one must not give into the insidious nature of the disease of addiction, but know in their heart that there is indeed another path!

 

Othter articles you might be interested in...

Existential angst and addiction 

Four questions for making tough decisions 

The divinity within 

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