People are the Key to Addiction Recovery

“Isn’t life strange, a turn of the page?” -John Charles Lodge

We hear the following painful questions from someone in a fit of anger, or in a calm unconsoled voice, or a quiet whisper, or maybe a spiritual tug at your heart, sometimes with resignation or as a plea for help or encouragement.

  • “Life is rough.”
  • “Why is life so hard?”

Life-Changing Events Come With Challenges

Challenges catch us by surprise even following positive accomplishments, such as overcoming addiction, landing a new job, graduating from college or any other change or accomplishment. They sneak up on you or haunt you after overcoming and making big changes or changing course. At the pinnacle of accomplishment or the depth of setbacks, snares may be waiting.

You’ve been there at some level, or you may be there now. Without a doubt, someone near you is there now. They’ve opened another door along their path. Then, suddenly they’re stopped in their tracks, like when your shirt gets caught on a tack while rushing through a door.

Change, even positive change, brings latent issues to the surface, things that we’ve put aside while working on bigger issues. It’s a reminder that progress does not happen in a straight line. When we shed any baggage, our capacity to deal with lingering issues can become greater than it was. Out of the blue, more issues appear. House cleaning is not a one time task, it is layered as we go deeper and deeper. As we reach new mileposts we recognize challenges that have been there all along but that we have been too preoccupied to notice or attend to. This is one of the fears of overcoming addiction, the difficult path of restructuring life on many levels.

A Time of Crisis

Recently a friend (we’ll call him Scott) called in crisis a few months after completing an addiction recovery program. He was doing extremely well in spite of a number of logistical challenges in life. He had made great strides and increased in confidence. He felt he was more satisfied with life than ever. Then, some unexpected bad news hit him hard and the wheels fell off the cart. His soul was hurting as one issue triggered an avalanche of more and more unresolved problems and feelings.

Feeling overwhelmed, Scott put into place a means to get support when he needed it. He was advised in his recovery program to find someone to be his sponsor to help him keep on track and care about him. A sponsor is someone you can trust and call on anytime, including when in darkness. Just before he met me, he had been meditating and praying to find a way to match up with someone to be his sponsor. The spirit of connection was in full play when we met. In an instance he invited me into his life as his sponsor.

Not many days later, he called me when he was in crisis and pain. I was with him as he worked through his immediate and longer term needs of healing. He verbalized his plans for getting through it all. I expressed my sincere full confidence in him and extended my love, support, and empathy.

A Witness to Miracles

I stayed with Scott as he traced out his life: joys, sorrows and anguish. As he got into the painfulness of unresolved issues, he also recognized amazing blessings that he had forgotten about. His gratitude kept growing as he identified his own attributes and strengths. He memory brought up key people and experiences in his life that had brought him happy moments and helped him through the challenges of his younger life. I was a witness to the miracles of the resilience of the soul to seek and find healing. He had been practicing resilience his entire life.

This was just one of many steps he has made through his continuing healing process. I noticed the importance of people throughout his life. There is great healing power in genuine love and friendship.

As Scott’s sponsor, I am privileged to feel his pain with him and to join him in feeling joy. I am inspired as I see people from different points in his history reaching out to him in the spirit of love and friendship. New friends are appearing all around, they are naturally drawn to him, and he to them. Like his other friends, I am blessed by his love and friendship. This experience and friendship is now an integral part of me.

The connections don’t end there. Scott is now sponsoring two people who are starting in an addiction recovery program. Other people who are coming into his life or back into his life are strengthened and inspired by him.

People Need People

“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Lyrics by Bob Merrill, 1963. Even at the lowest point in someone’s life, having someone to reach out to is essential. Perhaps most things are too big to handle all at once, or all alone. With trusted loving friends, we gain confidence to re-establish ourselves and begin to rebuild from the ground up. To be healed, we need to share the burdens of hard experiences in life.

Sure, there are times that we have to “walk that valley alone.” But at some point all of us need someone to help carry us through and reassure us. Pray and seek out who that person or those people are who can reassure you in the midst of your challenges. Continue to seek and pray to be surrounded by people. Each connected person fills a role.

At the same time, you are one of those people who helps and supports others. Often you won’t actually realize the impact you are having. Be prepared to be that person that someone can lean on by being open and welcoming to those looking for connection.

We are designed to connect.



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Wayne Beck

Wayne Beck

Having been on the frontlines, I’m deeply familiar with life’s challenges and traumas. I’m inspired by courageous people who triumph and succeed.