Old Dog, New Tricks

So, as some of you may have noticed, I took an abrupt hiatus from blogging.

No, it's not that I relapsed.

It's just that, sometimes in life, things happen that require you to do some serious soul-searching. You need to figure yourself out, without the outside opinions of others and what they think is best for you; but what you really want for your own life or where it's heading.

For recovering addicts, this becomes a crucial time for us, and can really be a make or break point in a successful longterm recovery. Our often indecisive behavior as a result of our addiction comes into clear question.

Even more often, it happens at a crucial time in our recovery where we feel like things are finally starting to look like a clear shot straight forward.

Suddenly it's a bombardment of:

  • What do I really want in my life?
  • Where do I want to be in 5yrs, 10yrs, etc?
  • How do I begin to take steps in the direction I want to head?
  • Is this the right direction for me?


waves boat sailing dinghy

Now the winds of change have shifted and you are left scrambling to adjust the sails accordingly before you get so knocked off course you can't even see land. But these questions don't have to throw you off course, and they definitely don't need to send you down the path of relapse.

You just have to change the way you approach and view them.

The human brain is susceptible to conditioning, which more or less means we are subjects to habit repeated so much that the body subconsciously anticipates a reaction.

In this case, a lot of us stifled our fear and anxiety with our addictions so these questions can bring up some very unwanted trigger reactions your body has conditioned itself to anticipate. Suddenly you feel like drinking and you can't understand why, but it's there; it's conditioning.

The bell is ringing and you are salivating like Pavlov's dog but you can't figure out why because there hasn't been a substance in your life for X amount of time. Sound familiar?

Your brain has been trained to expect these things, and all you really need is some "re" training.

Throw out the old adage that old dogs can't learn new tricks; THEY CAN!

fitness trick dog trick malinois

When the questions come up, (because they will) and you don't have all the big answers to what you want from your life, or where you are headed, you DO know one thing.

You want it to be sober.

And even if that's the only thing you know for certain, there is some beautiful comfort in that.

If you find comfort in the things you know certainly, and if you forget the fear for the things you don't sometimes things become a little clearer. A sort of process of elimination.

Soon, you will find that you have retrained your brain, not only to find the positive side of a fearful scenario, but it will also train your brain to:

  • Not let yourself be subject to fear or anxiety
  • Find calm resolve within yourself as opposed to addiction
  • Not turn to relapse as a viable option for any reason

Don't forget that things are STILL working out exactly as they should and these conflicts arising shouldn't cause you to buckle.

-because even if they only thing you know for certain, is that you want an addiction-free life, that's one hell of a great decision to start with, and a wonderful new trick even the oldest dogs can learn.



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