angrycatOne of the unique perplexities of addiction recovery is that sometimes consequences don’t catch up with us until after we have started seeking recovery. And sometimes we struggle to deal with that.  In the beginning of our use there are very few consequences. It is mostly just fun. But as the addiction progresses we start losing things.

In the beginning they feel like they are insignificant things. Things we don’t mind losing so we don’t make much of a fuss. And if we are really good at being an addict, others have trouble noticing too. We may just seem a little distant (we do love to isolate) but others may just write it off to stress from our work and not complain that we are distancing ourselves in our relationships.

We may begin using people, but those close to us love us and are very forgiving and it all may happen so slowly that people don’t even notice the gradual change. We may get away with a lot of stuff. We may even laugh about it too ourselves, how clever we are, to be addicted right under other peoples’ noses and they don’t have a clue.

But when the “crap hits the fan” as they say, there is sometimes heck to pay. When we are outed and realize we can’t get away with it anymore, we may jump into recovery. Sometimes with both feet and lots and lots of piousness. We are in recovery after all. We are not that bad person addict any more!

Trouble is, the damage we have created, the flotsam and jepson that we have generated, still surrounds us. People are still hurt, some are just starting to realize how badly we have hurt them. But we are merrily on to recovery, why are people being so mean to us. Why don’t they understand, we have changed. Why can’t they forgive us and move on?

Well probably because in the arrogance of your addiction, you haven’t stopped to contemplate the damage you have created, the hurt you have caused. Try putting yourself in their shoes, actually try to empathize, or feel their pain. It isn’t pretty. We have often caused hurt that does not easily or quickly heal. For example, an LDS spouse with a temple marriage, unaware of a pornography addiction, can be devastated by the loss of eternal security.  It does not get much more profound than that.  We couldn’t hurt them more deeply if we tried.

Our victims deserve the benefits of our amends. And not superficial, “I am sorries.” But heartfelt empathy and compassion, honest humility and regret, confessed and spoken many times in many ways.  We must show by  behaviors that we have changed, not just words.  Our words, after all, aren’t very believable.  We are addicts.

It is part of the mess we create when we choose to follow an addiction. In healing we must thoroughly and completely clean up that mess, no matter how long it takes or what it requires of us.