Think back to when you were still using drugs or alcohol.
At that time, weren’t you just holding yourself back from making the decision to get clean and sober? Deep down, you probably knew it at the time that getting sober was the right thing to do, but you were sabotaging your own efforts and motivation to go there. You held yourself back. It was not a question of opportunity or knowledge. You simply held yourself back from making progress. You had the power to surrender; to make a decision for change….but you got in your own way. It was only through “stepping aside of yourself” that you could allow a solution to start working in your life.
You had to get out of your own way in order to recover.
And so it is with growth in recovery. We can prevent ourselves from making progress by clinging to false beliefs or by holding ourselves in place. We resist change, simply because it is unknown and therefore not safe in our minds.
For example, maybe you want to start exercising in recovery and get into shape. Or maybe you want to start a new career or go back to school and finish a degree. Or perhaps you want to start eating healthier. You might have one of these types of ideas swirling around in your head. They make a nice story that we can tell ourselves….something that we can start working on “tomorrow.” So why don’t these goals materialize and get put into action? How can we make the leap and start working on this active growth?
How can we push ourselves to pursue personal growth in recovery?
The answer is always action, action, action. Eventually you have to stop fantasizing about your perfect life and start living it. We might take the excuse that we are analyzing things so that we do not end up wasting our time pursuing things that don’t really help us. This line of thinking is always wrong. The fact is that we have plenty of time in our lives and if we try new things we can quickly learn if they are right for us or not. Sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that we can actually learn something by carefully thinking about things in our head, without actually trying them and experimenting in real life. The fact is that we learn by doing, not by sitting on the couch and theorizing all day.
This becomes evident when you listen to people share about their recovery. The truly useful information that you can get from people comes from them relating what they actually did–what actions they took and how they actually proceeded through early recovery. Don’t tell me what I should do; tell me instead what you did and what worked for you. It’s all about the action. Theories about how we should live always sound nice but in reality the only thing that matters is what actually works for us.
If you are seeking motivation in your recovery then I would suggest that you start with some basic goal setting and list making. For example, you might start out in the morning and make a simple list with 3 goals: Today I will
1) Write in my journal for 10 minutes
2) Exercise for 30 minutes
3) Call a friend or sponsor in recovery and talk
The actual goals are not so important–what is critical is that you are planning them out and achieving them each day. If you start holding yourself accountable in this way you will be amazed with what you can achieve over time.
Remember, we did not get clean and sober just to sit on the couch all day. Get out there start living your life to the fullest!