The eye of the storm is like a description of addiction. The eye is the substance use, everything that surrounds it is what causes destruction. Let’s look at the eye as addiction and the ring around the eye is the wreckage. The guilt, shame, hopelessness, strained relationships, homelessness, legal issues, children, jobs, trust, helplessness, low self-worth, low self-esteem, trauma, and a slew of other issues. Someone makes the decision that enough is enough, and treatment is sought. Awesome!

Now let’s discuss what is left once the substances are treated. All the wreckage is whirling around. Treatment is just that, treatment, then comes the recovery. I have known quite a few people that have chosen to take the easier route and not seek recovery. That is just abstinence! Having to deal with the whirlwind is the hardest part. There is a term “white-knuckle sobriety”, and it refers to the practice of desperately holding onto sobriety without working a program of recovery. Although it is not impossible to maintain sobriety by sheer will, white-knuckling sobriety does not allow the addict to address all the underlying factors of their addiction. The process of recovery is to grow spiritually and mentally and this is totally discounted with only abstinence.

Addiction is a chronic disease and there is no known cure. Without an ongoing recovery program, it is doubtful individuals will be able find the positivity, patience, and perseverance to maintain sobriety. White-knuckle sobriety or abstinence can only go so far. Without proper support the individual will continue to experience emotional and interpersonal problems.