The island metaphor explains why escape from your addiction can seem impossible but also can point the way to how you can really move forward to a life that will be so much better.
Look at the island. It is small and desolate and there is not much there. You can imagine being cold and miserable a lot of time. And this means that the one building on the island (the lighthouse) is very appealing – for at the very least there is shelter and maybe warmth. The trouble is that with shelter from the storm also comes boredom, listlessness, loneliness and emotional pain.
But what is the alternative? You appear to be trapped on the island as there is no way that you can swim all the way to the shore of the mainland in one desperate and heroic bid for freedom.
And of course you have the realisation that your escape has to be all or nothing. But (and it is a big but), what you don’t yet understand is that your escape to find your freedom will be one step at a time. What you don’t yet realise is that as you venture out into the sea, you can take take it slowly.
In other words, in the beginning you step out into the sea just a few steps and whenever you wish you can return back to the safety of the island. And each time you do venture out, you find you can go a little further. And as you discover this, an amazing thing happens. The sea becomes calmer and calmer and you find that eventually you can swim. And so it goes on until… well I think you now know. It is that when you are ready, you will be able to swim all the way to the mainland.
And so when you do reach the far shore you are ready to come ashore. Your new life is working, your brain has evolved new healthier patterns and your addiction – well that has disappeared beneath the waves because you no longer need it.
And that is the trapped on an Island in the middle of the sea addiction metaphor. It’s the best one of the lot.
If this metaphor intrigues you, then find out about my Moving Beyond Addiction Audio Programme.