Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has helped many people the world over in their quest to stay free of drugs, including heroin and prescription medications treated in medication-assisted opiate rehabilitation. NA offers a variety of recovery pamphlets intended for both the addict and his or her family. While you still have to buy the Book, you can download the pamphlets for free on the NA website.
So, if you’re in opiate rehabilitation or you have a loved one who is, just what is the Triangle of Self Obsession? NA describes the normal development of a youngster as someone who is obsessed with himself or herself, as all children are. Most children mature and grow past the stage when they depend on the people, places, and things that they have always enjoyed. They learn, instead, to develop new relationships and explore new experiences; but the person with an opiate addiction does not.
Actually, anyone with an addiction, and not just someone in opiate rehabilitation, can become stuck in a developmental quagmire. The reason for this may stem from stunted emotional growth because of drug or alcohol use. When a person begins abusing substances at a young age, their emotional development stops there. For example, a boy who is 16 when he becomes addicted may still, at the age of 30, have the emotional maturity of a 16-year-old boy.
Consider the Triangle of Self Obsession
This failure to mature normally ignites the Triangle. Think about each of these emotional responses:
- Resentment. Before a person gets into opiate rehabilitation, they look at their past life and fester over their negative experiences. They have an inability to be self-sufficient, and they blame other people because they do not feel accepted, and they blame those people for their addiction. Resentment has to do with the person’s past life and those they blame for their issues.
- Anger. As the person manages to get through each day, they remain in a constant state of anger. Their anger is directed at their loved ones who tell them to stop using, at the judge who sentences them, at the lawyer who fails to get them off charges, at the opiate rehabilitation counselor who holds them accountable, and at the world in general. Anger relates to the person’s present life.
- Fear. Just like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, there is yet a third ghost—and that ghost is the emotion we know as Fear. We all fear the unknown, and this is never truer than it is for the opiate addict. The future seems full of question marks and unmarked roads. Going into opiate rehabilitation means stepping away from the comfortable concealing blanket of pain pills or heroin addiction, and nobody likes being forced into the bright light of day. Fear relates to the opiate addict’s future life.
While you are in rehab for opiate addiction, you will learn more about the Triangle of Self Obsession by attending NA meetings. You have to realize that since you cannot change the past, you must move forward from it, and so you can overcome resentment. You have to realize that the only person to be angry at is yourself, and then you will learn to put your anger behind you. You will also learn how to build some faith in your future, and that will come from listening to the people in group therapy or at 12-step groups as they tell their stories. This evolution ends when you accept yourself and realize that you are deserving of love. Once you realize that you are not alone, and that many people before you have gone into opiate rehabilitation and beat their addiction, you will eradicate your fear.
Struggling With Opiate Rehabilitation— You’re Never Alone
Even as you go through opiate rehabilitation, your feeling of loneliness will continue for a while because you haven’t yet studied the Triangle. You miss someone taking care of you, as your parents or other adults did when you were small. Now you can learn how to take care of your needs by yourself—and to take great joy in that self-sufficiency. There’s also research that shows your emotional development can begin to move forward again if you stop using drugs, or at the very least your sense of logic in making decisions will be restored.
If you feel upset with someone in your life, ask what it is you want or expect from them. Then ask yourself if what you want is reasonable or if perhaps it is ridiculous. You may be caught up in the Triangle of Self Obsession. Taking a slow look at upsetting emotions is a logical way to deal with them.
As you go through opiate rehabilitation and work your recovery, you will find that things become easier. Your resentment will be replaced with acceptance. Instead of being consumed by anger, you will learn how to feel and embrace love. And the fear you have for the future will be replaced by faith.
Opiate addiction is a disease that will kill you if you don’t agree to seek help, but it is still your choice whether to live or die. This may be your last chance to make that choice. We’ve all known some people, whether or not they sought help, who didn’t make it. Don’t let yourself be counted among them. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s time to pick up the phone and call a local medication-assisted treatment program. It takes time to find the light. Just keep looking for it.