Are you suffering from the nuisances of addiction of a loved one, out of job or miserable at work, and feeling sorry for yourself? Do you find that the odds are stacked against you, that if you did not do this or that, if only you were younger or older, or better educated or had better connections or physical weight, you could get the addict to do things the way you wanted?
Living with a loved one who is an addict, is a very difficult ordeal. It is like living on an earthquake fault-line where not just the damage done by the earthquake’s but also the psychological trauma of uncertainty and fear from aftershocks, make life unbearable. But bear with me since the wreck and the problems caused by addictions, is only one side of the coin. There are many opportunities in this challenge, and in order to do that, we need to look and think about it differently. After all, if we change the way we look at things, the things we look at, change.
Mike Brewer, a photographer, spent most of his time in Hawaii. He stayed afloat by selling postcards made from photographs of local nature scenes. The local marijuana growers made it clear to him that his presence there as a photographer in the hemp fields could be life threatening and it was time to make a career move. What made it even tougher was that he has only one arm. A polio withered arm may not be much of a professional drawback if one is sitting in an office all day. But photography, as practiced by Brewer, required as much a physical talent as its creative counterpart. To work, he had to drag almost 30kg of photographic equipment up down and through lots of places where people with two arms did not have the energy to attempt the same. But he knew that in order to become a successful freelancer, he had to overcome all those barriers.
Low and behold, along came hurricane EVA and when it was over, everything was blown away for miles. Brewer went back in a helicopter and took more photographs; photographs of destruction: those showing high water mark which was the boundary for insurance companies’ pay or no-pay decisions. All of a sudden, the insurance companies were looking for Brewer and Brewer sold them the pictures. He made more money in those few weeks than he had made in any full year in his entire life.
Every challenge and problem has opportunities hidden in it, however debilitating and traumatic it might be it still has concealed chances. Taken proper advantage, our challenges can motivate us to grow and make us a better person. Addiction is a challenge that grieves us, gives us a feeling of rejection and failure every now and then, belittles us, pushes us away and what not. But the tides can be turned if in order to recover and reclaim our loved one, we first put ourselves through some change effort. It can motivate us to fix any of our long standing challenges such as weight management, relationship problems, financial mess, smoking etc. It can result in creating and making us good agents and inculcate in us the power of agency. Not only agency changes us, it has far more power than that. It greatly improves our influence on the loved ones suffering from addiction. It enhances our wisdom and understanding of the process of change. And should we choose to master change, it can mean all the difference in our lives. A difference between recovering an individual bent upon destroying himself and us.
Some people defy every attempt to pigeon hole them. They succeed because they refuse to conform to the tyranny and chaos of addiction. They are the lucky ones but they are not characterized by good luck alone. They have different paradigms than the rest of us. They look at the challenges put forth by addiction differently. They decide to be best in the middle of worst situations.