I cannot cure your addiction.
No one else can cure your addiction.
You cannot cure anyone else’s addiction.
Whether we’re talking addictions to substances, to behaviors, to ideas, or to people, there is a stubborn myth that we can cure someone else’s addiction by simply “loving them enough.” That by sheer force of our commitment to a person, we can change their patterns and needs profoundly enough to “snap them out of it.”
Likewise, many people hang on to the myth that somehow somebody will come along to cure their addiction for them. People think that if they get just the right therapist, or just the right guru, or just the right lover, or just the right dietician, that they’ll finally have the impetus they need to do the work of recovery.
That’s not how it works.
(If it were how it works, I’d absolutely get in the business of “saving” people from their addictions, because I’m betting it’d be pretty lucrative.)
Don’t get me wrong: people can help us along the way.
Words matter. Influences matter. Ideas matter. Philosophies and therapeutic approaches and spiritual paths matter.
But in the end, it’s on us.
One of the things I like about the Christian spiritual tradition (stay with me here, this isn’t a religious comment, this is about psychology) is that in several of the Gospels, when Jesus heals people, he takes care to remind them that he, actually, isn’t the one who healed them. Over and over and over again, he tells the people he heals that it is their own faith that has healed them.
Similarly, it’s not Alcoholics Anonymous that gets people sober, or cognitive behavioral therapy by itself that yanks people out of depression. It is peoples’ willingness to actively understand and USE the tools offered by AA and CBT that does the trick.
I have a pretty good track record as a therapist for helping people like their lives and achieve their goals better. But it’s not about me: it’s about them.
It’s about you.
There are PLENTY of people who see my posts and who read my blogs, but who don’t get “better.”
The difference between them and the people who read my material and who DO experience some benefit has nothing to do with the material itself. I’m the same Dr. Doyle day in and day out on this blog and on my Facebook page.
The difference is whether and how someone is willing and able to think about and USE what they’re reading.
The good news is: we don’t need to wait for someone else to save or cure us.
We don’t have to wait for the perfect therapeutic approach to be developed and researched.
We don’t have to wait until we read just the right book or stumble upon just the right guru.
We don’t have to restrict ourselves to the teachings of just the right therapist.
All of those things might help, and believe me, I know what a godsend it is to stumble upon just the right tools at the right time to help us get where we’re going.
But the fact that, in the end, our recovery is 100% dependent upon us is excellent news, in my view.
It means we don’t have to wait.
It means we don’t have to trust in someone else’s commitment or faith.
It means we can start right here, right now.
It means we can keep going even when certain people or approaches disappoint us.
Thank goodness I can’t cure your addiction.
Thank goodness it’s all on us.
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