We have always been fascinated with the concept of "time." Certainly it is something that money can't buy and is probably the most important concept known to mankind (just think of the role it played in Einstein's "Theory of Relativity!")

Time is very important in the field of addiction as well. Psychologists, psychiatrists and all therapists in the addiction field are always interested in how much "sober time" a patient has. The syndrome of "post acute withdrawal" (PAWS which looks at a set of certain symptoms that the alcoholic or addicted individual develops 7 to 14 days after their last use and can last as long as 6 to 18 months), is obviously a construct that is not only conceptually but biologically based on time.

All of 12 step, self-help programs in addiction are based on time (e.g., "one day at a time," 90 meetings in 90 days, etc.); the importance of "no major changes" in your first year of sobriety; working on your steps in a thoughtful but timely manner, etc.

Thus, we begin to see that time is indeed "of the essence." Think of all the sayings: "no time like the present," "you're running out of time," "time is on my side," "not enough hours in the day," "time waits for no man," "time and time again," "it's about time,"
And of course, "as time goes by."

The Talmud said this of time: "Who forces time is pushed back by time; who yields to time finds time on his side." I love that saying because it reminds me of the 12 step philosophy which talks about "powerlessness" - we are "powerless" over time my friends just as the addicted individual is "powerless" over their drug of choice - in both cases if you yield and admit to being "powerless" you live a much greater psychological and physical existence, and hopefully for a very long time!

About the Author

Harris Stratyner, Ph.D., CASAC

Harris Stratyner, Ph.D., CASAC, is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; he is also with Caron Treatment Centers.

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