Two things I've learnt from drug addicts

Addiction. I’ve been mentored by people who’ve worked with addicts. I’ve worked with addicts directly. I find addiction to be the most fascinating topic. It’s taught me two important things. About rehab.

For rehab to be successful and sustainable, to be their forever story, two things need to happen.

The person needs to acquire strength. Then that strength needs to be tested, almost to the point of breaking. Almost but not quite.

1. Acquire strength.
12 step programs. Isolation. Withdrawal. Letting go of bad influences. Checking into a clinic. Staying in a clinic. Finding a shrink. Talking to a shrink. Every day. Every week.

2. Test strength.
Abstinence. Not abstinence in a rehab centre. Not abstinence because you can’t afford it but abstaining while staring at it. Being able to smell it, hear it, see it and still make a strong choice. Challenge your urge and still fall back on your strength.

Substitute drug rehab for injury rehab.

1. Acquire strength.
Isolate muscles. Build strength. Do repetitions. Create webs of strength throughout the body. Increase knowledge of injury. Understand it. Visualise it. Be clear on how it happened.

2. Test strength.
Also known as flexibility. Presents as an unfamiliar environment. Elongate the muscle and see if it can hold the same weight. See if you can breathe while elongating. Your strength will be tested when you go back to work and bend down to pick up the same box that caused the injury. Will work deadlines cause your strength to waiver, as you fling the box up, bypassing the newly acquired strength in your thighs? Testing your strength shows your limits. It validates step one.

People tend to do one step or the other. Very rarely both. However both are required for success to be your forever story. There is no injury, ailment or disease that won’t benefit from acquiring strength and then testing it with flexibility. Here’s a yoga example.

1. Plank pose, either practiced on elbows or hands. Hold plank. Do reps. Stay. Then stay longer. Then longer again. Notice how you progressively feel less strained and more comfortable.

2. Test plank by adding flexibility. Move between plank and downward dog. Create a little sequence between the two postures. Does your plank hold it’s form, shape and comfort? Can you breathe in the sequence?

Arthritis. Swollen, inflamed joints. Limited movement. No cushioning, no softness, bone against bone. Most sufferers only focus on step 2, flexibility, given the condition depletes so much range of movement. They miss the part where they build strength in the surrounding muscles. Create webs of integrity and stability so the damaged joints have a support system.

Low self-esteem. Requires you to strengthen yourself with good company, positive and motivating friends. An uplifting workplace and taking regular holidays to inspirational locations.

Does the positive self-talk continue on a lonely Saturday night, bored at home in your pjs? There’s the test.

Seek to understand the purpose of rehab. Purpose is power.