We all know what addiction is. But what exactly is recovery? How do we define it?
An ongoing journey, one that is exciting and keeps you interested in living life. The shift that occurs in recovery will literally change your personality. Life becomes interesting and exciting again. We start to anticipate future events with enthusiasm again. We are no longer simply existing to use drugs.
An experiment in building healthy relationships. Recovery is all about relationships. No man is an island. We need help to recover and we end up helping others. This is the great journey, the great revelation–that we can recover together. Old relationships are restored.
Not the drag that you think it will be when you are still using drugs and alcohol. Before we get sober, most us believe we will never have fun again. The reality is that our idea of fun changes as we stay clean and sober. Our priorities shift.
Not having to lie anymore. This is true freedom. Your mind is relieved from the obsession of figuring out how to maintain a dual existence and put up a front to certain people. When we are actively using drugs and alcohol, we don’t realize how much energy this takes away from us.
A commitment to progress. In active addiction, we are just coasting along, using one drug after another, and basically chasing the same high over and over again. We don’t stop to consider goals, aspirations, or great things we’d like to accomplish. Recovery changes all that and gives us purpose.
Spiritual. It is replacing the obsession of self-medicating with a connection with a higher power and a meaningful life.
A series of goals. The day-at-a-time philosophy of twelve step programs encourages us to make a daily goal of maintaining sobriety for that day. The success that comes with living this philosophy builds on itself and teaches us discipline and perseverance.
More than anything, though, I think recovery is the ability to create a new life for yourself.
Action Items: What you can do
1) Give some thought to your goals. Live mindfully. Make sure you are making progress in your life and not simply coasting along. Remember the zombie-like state we lived in during addiction and strive to live more purposefully than that.
2) Grow spiritually. Ask yourself: “What can I do today to connect with my higher power?”
3) Stay grateful. Remember how much your life is changed and give yourself credit for it. Appreciate how far you’ve come in recovery. If you’re clean and sober today, you’re a miracle!