Did you ever hear the story of the faithful guards of the royal palace? Apparently, they were on 24/7 watch, guarding a patch of ground way out in the middle of the grounds where nobody ever went. They had been doing it for as long as anyone could remember. Nobody ever questioned why. But they should have, because there was nothing special there to guard and it really seemed like such a waste. Finally, upon inquiry, they figured out the reason for the guards. Long ago, the queen had a beautiful bed of roses there that she wanted protected. So, she posted the guards there. The roses had long since died and the patch of ground became weeds. But, for all those years, those guards continued to keep watch–not even knowing why.
It seems like we can be so faithful to things without ever stopping to think or second guess our reasons. I believe we all have convictions and feelings that are not based on solid truth. (We would never admit it though.)
I’ve recently started to research something that I think is very interesting and needs to be figured out. Way back when I used to help people quit smoking, there was a statistic I came across that said that only 5% of smokers were able to quit on their own. When I started my recovery from porn, I came across the same statistic but only applied to addiction (not just smoking). Celebrate Recovery taught me that I need a group to be successful. I was sold on that idea. I’ve even shared that in my blog posts many times and in comments I’ve posted on others blogs.
Well, I’m started to wonder about the validity of that statistic. I don’t have any data to support it–I’ve always just accepted it because I read it.
Recently, I have been researching what is called “Natural Recovery”. If you study it, you will find out that there have been quite a few studies done stretching back into the 40’s (many in the 70’s). It appears that there is good evidence that more people end up quitting addictions on their own than by getting help (either through groups or therapy or rehab). But, we don’t tend to hear as much about it because those people who quit aren’t part of a group trying to sell materials or sell rehab, etc.
I think this is very interesting and it has kind of given me a new perspective on this. I have felt for a while that the only possibility of overcoming addiction (for most) was through joining some kind of group. However, I’m now no longer sure that is true. I’m finding quite a bit of solid scientific statistical evidence that says that is not true. In fact, the facts seem to show that the opposite may be true–that you are less likely to be successful in a group or rehab.
However, I haven’t formed any solid conclusions yet. One article I read was very balanced and seemed most reasonable. There are some types of people who seem to have better odds in a group, some who do well in rehab, and some who are more cut out to be successful on their own. Maturity is a large factor in overcoming on your own, etc.
So, it may not be so simple as to say that this is better or that. It may actually be that one thing is better for some and another thing is better for others.
The good news is that many, many, many people simply just kind of grow out of their addictions–from heroine addicts, to smokers, to alcoholics, to porn addicts. It happens. Studies show that it happens a lot! I think that offers a lot of hope to anyone who may be struggling and wondering if they will ever overcome. Don’t give up!