The word courage is thrown around rather liberally in this day and age. Many argue that its ubiquity dilutes genuine selfless and courageous acts. In a world in which optics and appearances matter more than ever, more and more people are stumbling over themselves to look strong, brave and noble. When push comes to shove, however, and character is truly tested, courage really boils down to one thing: how much we’re willing to sacrifice. Those in recovery understand this reality all too well, and have put everything on the line in the pursuit of a better and more certain future.
When an addict is given the opportunity to enter treatment or get help in some other way, it’s one of the most critical decisions they can make in their lives; and while the answer may be obvious, it’s not always easy to accept. It’s true that without proper intervention and clinical care, the disease will progress and ultimately claim the sufferer; but let us not forget the dramatic changes in brain chemistry caused by addiction. This means that sufferers often can’t see beyond the pain and sickness of their withdrawal symptoms or giving up the way their drug of choice makes them heal. They see treatment and sobriety as taking a huge leap of faith.
While their families and loved ones can guide them toward treatment, it is ultimately up to addicts to make the decision to get help on their own; a decision that requires a tremendous amount of courage and emotional strength. The good news is that each and every one of us has the courage to face addiction head on, and can rely on the people who are closest to us for continued support and positive reinforcement. While addicts themselves shoulder the burden of recovery themselves, they don’t have to take this first step, or any part of their journey, entirely on their own.