We have all heard the age old saying honesty is the best policy, but when it comes to addiction honesty isn’t the only necessity for a successful recovery. Vulnerability is critical to achieving your goals. But what is vulnerability, and why is it so important?
Vulnerability is defined as being in a position open or susceptible to injury. When it comes to addiction and recovery, we especially refer to vulnerability in relationship to emotions. The difficult part about being open to injury, physical or emotional, is that it’s not a natural state – it’s uncomfortable. Ordinarily in these situations, we instinctively seek to protect ourselves by building walls and utilizing an array of defense mechanisms. The problem with this natural instinct is that, in some cases, it may protect us, but in other cases, such as with addiction, it can hinder our ability to recover. Identifying vulnerability and embracing this state, however, can greatly aid in the recovery process.
It is also important to identify the difference between vulnerabilities and triggers. Though they may sound similar, the key difference is that triggers are singular, short-term events while vulnerabilities are continuous states of mind. For example, vulnerability may be something such as chronic stress at work, while a trigger may be a singular disagreement with a coworker. Identifying and understanding both vulnerabilities and triggers will make long-term recovery more likely.
Masking susceptibility can contribute to substance dependence. While genetics may be a root cause, vulnerability also contributes to your likelihood to develop an addiction. Even if it’s an inactive addiction, it can become active. That is because short-term fixes alleviate, briefly, the feeling of vulnerability. Consequently, people seek drugs, alcohol, food and other temporary means to numb their pain.
Though being vulnerable may put you at risk for anguish, pain, or other perceived negativity, the benefit of confronting it head on may allow you to make a complete, long-term recovery. Don’t let substances mask vulnerability, instead, aim to understand, embrace and work through it. Therapy and residential recovery programs may be the best option for you to tackle enduring vulnerabilities and reach your goals. A brighter future awaits you, get started today!