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The Myth of the Magic Moment: Why Beating Substance Abuse is a Game of Inches

Young man at a window hand on his head - magic moment of substance abuse

It’s understandable: you’re struggling with drugs and alcohol and you’re hoping for a magic wand that makes the problem go away. There’s no shame in this, but it is something you need to address if you’re serious about freeing yourself from the vice grip of addiction or problematic alcohol and drug use.

The notion that you can find one single breakthrough or revelation that will change everything is common – and it’s profoundly limiting. Today Help Me Stop’s addiction specialists are talking about why.

We’re here if you want to talk now: If you’re struggling, we want to help. Call us at no obligation now on 0208 191 9191 or use our contact form.

It detaches you from reality

In our heads, we want out. Addiction and substance abuse or dependency make the mind an unpleasant place to be; feelings of despair, self-loathing and contempt can gather to make simply going from day to day a challenge. This is common to people struggling in this manner, and there’s no shame associated with wishing for a magic wand that will whisk you away from your difficulties.

Recovery is a game of inches, and by appreciating the fact that you’re in it for the long haul, you redefine your expectations and focus to a level that is realistic and healthy. You live day to day, adjusting and improving your resilience, discipline, and knowledge. It’s slower, it’s steadier and most importantly, it’s real.

It makes yo-yoing more likely.

It’s important to recognise just how harmful to your recovery the ‘magic moment’ concept is. By pinning your hopes on the next big breakthrough, you set yourself up for a disappointing failure when that doesn’t happen. Can a learning point or session with a therapist give you a valuable and new discovery? Absolutely. Will it immediately lift you out of your environment and the habits you’ve developed in them? No.

The subtle danger of waiting for the magic moment lies in how it makes you disillusioned from daily life and its activities. If you expect you and the world to change if you just learned one more thing, you’ll be more liable to lose interest in the little things. Details like sleeping regularly, eating healthily and exercising regularly suddenly seem like trivial affairs when there just has to be a big, world-shaking breakthrough around the corner in your mind.

And that sets you up for failure. Freeing yourself from addiction and substance abuse is a success that is made possible in those small details. Those small wins that accrue each and every day are the building blocks that create the future you wish for so much; without them, your foundations are shaky.

Here’s a better way.

Let’s be clear: We’re not saying you should give up hope. It’s OK and valid to get excited about a new understanding you get from any source. Motivation is important and legitimate breakthroughs do happen.

You can make your recovery easier and more consistent, however, if you free yourself from the need for that breakthrough. In a way, being less ‘outcome dependent’ has its own benefits in the recovery process. Setbacks happen, relapses may happen and by placing your attention and focus on the day ahead of you and how to execute it to the best of your ability, you narrow your focus to the world around you that you can change and improve right now. When you do that, the pressure of the future and the regret of yesterday washes away, leaving you with hours of sunlight and an evening to follow – and the task of filling them with healthy activities and a positive mood.

In time, those days well spent accumulate into a life where you too can be free from dependency on drugs and alcohol.  

We’re here to make that happen.

Thanks for reading. We hope you’ve found something useful in today’s article; be sure to check back at our blog section for new entries several times every week.

As we’ve said before, we’d like to talk if you have the need. Call us on 0208 191 9191 or use our contact form – and take care. We wish the best for you!

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