By Steps to Recovery on November 15, 2012

A glass can be looked at as either half full, or half empty. An optimistic person will always tell you that glass of water is half full, while the pessimist will argue that it is half empty. This is all based on one’s perception of the glass. They are both looking at the same glass, so how can they see these things so differently? This, to me, sums up the life of a drug addict. In active addiction the glass is always, always, always half empty. It is the story of our lives. Nothing is ever good enough. Changing our perception is a key step for many in order to recover from the disease of addiction.

We suffer from a disease of the brain which directly effects the way we perceive things. Blaming everyone else for our problems is our way of taking the attention off of ourselves. We lie to ourselves so often that in the end we believe the idea that all of our problems were someone else’s fault, or a serious of misfortunate events that make us the unluckiest people on earth.

A clear example of our distorted perception: anytime an actively using addict gets arrested for something like a possession charge, rather than taking responsibility for possessing the substance we blame the cops for pulling us over for no reason in the first place. An alcoholic gets a 3rd DUI, and they convince themselves they do not have a drinking problem, but rather a driving problem. These are both examples of how diseased perception plays a large part in addiction. “Well, its not fair that cop had no reason to pull me over!”

A normal thinking person would take a step back look at their actions and see what responsibility they had in the event, an addicted mind will put all the blame on someone else and plot a way to get away with their actions next time. Addicts have this perception in their head that it really is only wrong when you get caught. It is never our behaviors that are the problem, the problem is only why and how did we get caught. Until we can change these delusional perceptions, there is no chance at recovery.

Treating delusional thinking is a long term process. Our minds have been so conditioned to perceive things in a negative and manipulative manner that it takes time and work to change these beliefs. An addicted mind has the ability to perceive lies as truth. Fiction as reality. We must take a step back and ask for help, listen to someone else’s perspective. We must enter reality and get out of our own little fantasy land.

The first step is always to put the drugs down, and when the drugs have been put down we have a little bit of clarity to see things more realistically. We can realize that the DUI’s were actually our fault because we were driving intoxicated, rather than the cops fault for pulling us over. We can understand that the choices we made are no one else’s fault but our own. This thinking does not change over night, however, over time our perceptions can change.

By treating our disease we will see that the glass is half full and not alway half empty. We will learn that we are responsible for our own recovery. Perception is a tricky thing; sometimes taking a step back and looking at something through someone else’s eyes is the best way for us to learn and grow.