Ambivalence in Addiction Recovery

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am·biv·a·lence
[am- biv- uh-l uhns]

NOUN
1.
uncertainty or fluctuation, especially when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.
2.
Psychology. the coexistence within an individual of positive and negative feelings toward the same person, object, or action, simultaneously drawing him or her in opposite directions.

#1 Ambivalence-Staying Stopped or Relapse

Hi it's Dermot again. If you read my last blog from 26th March, you will know that this is a follow up to that blog and part of a "Recovery from Addiction Series", If not read on:

Firstly I'd really like to say just how brave you are, if you are in addiction or co-dependent, taking this Massive step into the journey of recovery. Please constantly pat yourselves on the back, as it is a huge achievement every day. Believe me on this.

As you are well aware the trap of active addiction is extremely difficult to break away from. All types of thoughts, emotions, old behaviours, old lifestyles, attitudes, and even friends, face you like a mountain. That’s even before the thought of a drink or drug comes into the equation. For some people it is even necessary to relocate.

All this overwhelm mounting up in front of anyone in early recovery is terribly daunting. How does anyone even start to deal with “this mountain” of issues ahead, no wonder people become ambivalent and choose to drink or use again.

I hear the excuse: “I just wanted to be 100% sure, I was an alcoholic, that’s why I drank”. Bullshit, if you are honest with yourself the real statement would be: ”I drank again because I’m totally terrified of staying sober & facing reality” or “It’s too hard”. You can't afford to be sitting on the fence, as their can be only one choice.

Psychology today have a good article on ambivalence:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-fallible-mind/201511/ambivalence-in-addiction

It’s best to be totally honest with how you feel in early recovery. It is not easy and the last thing you need is to be judging yourself too harshly, as that’s just what you are doing.

Stopping is the easy part, staying stopped is the hard part and everyone in early recovery, no matter who they are or how strong they feel, WILL need help and support or ambivalence will creep in. You can't afford to be proud in the face of complacency.

Unfortunately in my line of work, I have dealt with hundreds of people who have relapsed. None of them have ever said the reason why they relapsed was that they were full of fear, struggling and didn’t take responsibility and ask for help. I always hear people say: “I just wanted to just have one or two drinks, that’s all” or “I drank because of him/her”, blame, deflection.

Saying to them that they drank because they are alcoholic, is not enough anymore as that is not covering the core issues. People need to feel comfortable to be able to really say how they feel and get honest, that is the only way they can avoid ambivalence or "sitting on the fence" and the staying stopped gets a little less of a mountain to climb.

My next article is on Anxiety, stay tuned.

The article "Recovery from Addiction Series" Ambivalence is the opinion of the author and if you would like to contribute to it, please leave a comment in the comment box below. If you want to subscribe, for free, to any further blogs of mine please click on the blue box below.

Growth in Recovery and in life, takes commitment & courage, but if you are not willing to take a risk, and push your boundaries, even a little then you will be stuck where you are, until you do.


If, like me & you are in recovery, then I know your pain & you have been to hell and back. But think of this, you are not a victim, but a survivor and as a survivor you deserve to give yourself every opportunity you possibly can. "Keep breaking the mould and keep it real"


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Thank you for reading.

 

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