Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare

No Pain, No Gain

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare

No Pain, No Gain

Article excerpt

Our society emphasizes the path of least resistance, which makes working toward true recovery difficult

This past summer our national appetite for sensational and tragic stories of high-profile individuals was fed constant headlines about Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears. These two individuals provided material for every established and aspiring comedian, as well as for tabloid and other newspapers and magazines, not to mention online media. Much of the focus was on Spears' and Lohans aberrant behavior and seemingly cavalier attitude toward addiction treatment. Noticeably absent was much in-depth reporting or speculation on the seriousness of their disease or the consequences of it going untreated. The fact that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that can be fatal if left untreated has yet to receive broad public understanding and acceptance.

Spears' and Lohans experience with addiction treatment is evidence of a larger social dilemma. Our society is drifting in the direction of believing that we are entitled to be happy, not feel pain, and live as we please. Consequences for our behavior and coming to grips with our limitations and shortcomings are not highly valued. Our society runs the risk of actually believing that we are entitled to be happy all the time and that pain, suffering, and unhappiness are to be avoided at all costs. Such a sense of entitlement is the precursor to thinking that pain and hard work are unnecessary for happiness.

Yet if recovery is the ultimate goal and outcome of addiction treatment, and recovery is a life-changing, life-reorienting experience, then for recovery to be achieved, it must include hard work, pain, and certainly suffering. To grow, change, and recover, it is impossible to not experience some pain, suffering, and discomfort. After all, discomfort is the pathway to growth and recovery.

Our society's growing entitlement approach to life leads people to seek the easy path, the one that asks for the least introspection, demands as little change as possible, and allows people to avoid true recovery. …

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