The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Poison Ivy


One of my clients in the outpatient drug and alcohol counseling center where I work with folks in recovery had a brilliant analogy that he shared. As someone with a long term addiction, he thought he could manage it by ‘controlling’ his drinking until he realized it was controlling him. It was when he saw that he had much to lose by allowing the alcohol to run and ruin his life and that he had much to gain by maintaining sobriety, that he put down the bottle.


He is also an avid gardener who used a horticultural metaphor as he described the recovery process. He shared that for many years, each summer, he would be afflicted by poison ivy. It occurred to him that he needed to do two things to prevent the red, itchy rash from covering his hands.

1. Wear gloves.

2. Be aware of what the plant looks like and steer clear of it.

A knowing smile broke out on the faces of the others in the weekly support group I facilitate since they saw the connection immediately to their own addiction and recovery process. Protecting themselves by steering clear of the proverbial ‘people, places and things’ that sometimes suck them into the vortex of substance abuse, is necessary. It was when he began to take conscious concrete steps to prevent ‘poisoning his soul’ with alcohol that all aspects of his ‘garden’ began to thrive. Poison Ivy by The Coasters

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