Control is the cornerstone of stoicism. We must ignore what we cannot control and concentrate on what we can. This appears to be pretty straightforward in theory. The reality, however, is that life gets in the way, primarily through addictions. Addiction is something we cannot control by definition. If we don’t have control over our actions, how can we focus on cultivating a stoic mindset?
The Stoics caution us against addictions because of this. And they don’t simply refer to drug or alcohol addiction. There are several lesser but no less pernicious addictions, even if these two are unquestionably the most hazardous and fatal. We get dependent on junk food, TV, social media, video games, cellphones, and other things.
The Stoics would contend that there are some pleasures from which we should never indulge. We should avoid pleasures in particular that might seduce us in a single interaction. This could include the enjoyment that comes from using particular drugs: The Stoics would have likely advised against using crystal meth if it had been around in antiquity.
There is simply perception, according to a Stoic. To put it another way, everything that occurs is an objective fact that we attribute to our views, making it either positive or terrible in our perspective. The Stoics held the view that any chance was favourable in this regard. This is a really beneficial concept for recuperation.
Relapse should not be viewed as a failure, but rather as a chance to better understand our triggers or discover new coping mechanisms. We must hone the skill of seeing opportunities rather than challenges. This entails utilising our intelligence, seeking bravery, and being honest with ourselves.
You may have heard the Christian prayer, “God, give me the knowledge to discern the difference, the bravery to change the things I can, and the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” With anything we could control, there are also some things we can’t control, as this “prayer” illustrates.
We try to concentrate on things we can alter while in recovery. For instance, we cannot erase the past, we cannot alter the fact that we’ve had a mental health or drug use disease, but we can move in the direction of sobriety. We may replace our unhealthy behaviours with better ones. Perceptions may be altered. Self-change is possible.
Stoicism gives us the principles and skills we need to live a moderate existence. It provides us with the tools required to develop wisdom, bravery, justice, and temperance. Substance abuse therapies employ many of these stoic qualities.