My best tip for coping with drug addiction and living a great new life in recovery is this:
Push yourself for personal growth every single day.
This is unique advice compared to the traditional advice that you get in 12 step programs. Usually one of the strongest messages that you hear in AA and NA is one of “acceptance.” You are taught to accept things: Your situation, other people, even yourself to an extent. Acceptance is the key to all your problems today. Just accept them, and you take their power away over you! It is a mental trick to try to force yourself to be compliant.
Well, screw that. Acceptance has got me nowhere in recovery….maybe I am just wired differently. But if I am wired differently then I am sure that there are other people out there who are also wired in a similar fashion. The idea of accepting all of your situations and problems in life does not sit well with them either.
No, I am a doer, a thinker, and an optimist. I want a better life for myself and when I made the decision to commit in my recovery it was a choice that said:
“If I am going to be clean and sober, then I am darn sure going to work hard to enjoy my new life.”
Why be miserable when sober? You might just as well go drink. Why get into recovery and then sit around all day and complain? You can do that while you are using drugs. What’s the point?
No, the biggest tip for recovery from addiction can be summarized in 3 little words:
Daily. Personal. Growth.
You need to push yourself every single day to improve yourself, your life, and your life situation.
Now what does that mean exactly? What areas do you seek to improve in?
Answer: all of them. You have the rest of your life! Recovery lasts forever! Why just work on spiritual growth? This is a short sighted limitation of the 12 step model. They focus on one thing to the detriment of all others.
One of the biggest pillars of my sobriety turned out to be regular, vigorous exercise. Guess what? AA and NA never mentioned one single word about exercise. Not once. Come to think of it, I never heard people really talk about it much at meetings, either.
And yet there are entire programs of recovery that are based entirely on exercise, such as “Racing for Recovery.”
So growth can happen in many areas of your life: spiritual, physical, mental, educational, emotional, etc.
Do not limit yourself by just focusing on the spiritual aspect. This is a huge mistake.
Now second of all…..what do I mean when I say daily personal growth.
I mean that every single day, you need to push yourself to grow in some way. If a whole day goes by and all you did was crawl out of bed, lay on the couch, and watch cartoons, then what have you done to help your succeed in your recovery from addiction? Nothing. Not a darn thing.
“But” you protest, “at least I did not use drugs or alcohol that day. Sometimes that is enough.”
That is not enough. I don’t care if you stayed sober through that whole cartoon watching session. If you that becomes your primary mode of recovery then your life is worthless and you will probably relapse anyway.
No, you have to do more than that. You have to PUSH yourself to make growth.
Just saying “oh, I’m doing good lately, I must be making growth” is the wrong attitude.
Instead, you should say “I have been pushing myself hard lately, I have lots of projects going on in different areas of my life, and good things are happening for me.”
If you cannot make the second claim there then you have serious work to do.
You can start today and be a success story tomorrow.
Start pushing yourself to grow, and to make a difference. Start doing work that matters. On yourself, and for others.