It’s been my experience in recovery that you have to have a vision in order to make progress. Without something to strive for, our lives become meaningless, and relapse starts to look like a viable option again.
When I observe all of the recovering addicts and alcoholics around me, I can also see a trend emerge. Those that are only focused on quitting the drugs and alcohol have a very hard time stringing together any meaningful clean time. Those who embrace the creative life in recovery are the ones who seem to stay clean over the long haul. You have to be striving for something; be passionate about something. This is the power of vision.
Here are 3 reasons that we need this creative vision to fuel our recovery:
1) Vision gives purpose – If you have a creative vision for your life, then having this purposeful goal can help motivate you. Not just motivate you to stay clean and sober, but also to motivate you to achieve your goals and lead a truly inspired life in recovery.
For example, I currently have a few goals that involve reaching out to recovering addicts on the web, as well as working full time in a treatment center and working with addicts directly. Not only do I have a certain level of fulfillment right now, but I am building towards bigger and better things by expanding my audience and pushing myself to create truly useful information for them.
2) Vision creates drive – Once you have a clear vision of what you want, the commitment to go after it is the boost of motivation you need to create real drive in your life. Success breeds success. Once you start making progress toward your goals, use the concept of momentum to keep going strong.
Recovery in general creates drive, I believe. We accumulate success as we maintain sobriety and seek growth. Those who stagnate relapse. The rest of us keep pushing ahead, towards a better, more purposeful life.
3) Vision creates clarity – It is not enough for most people to say “I want to work with others in recovery. That is my purpose.” This is really just a general idea. How are you going to help them? We need clarity in order for our vision to push us towards action.
For example, I have a close friend in recovery who is extremely involved in AA. He chairs a few meetings each week and sponsors several newcomers at a time. His enthusiasm for the program is truly an inspiration. My point in bringing him up is that he has the level of clarity needed to make his vision a success. He is living the creative life in recovery. Are there other ways to create a purposeful life? Certainly. But that is his way, and it’s working wonders for him.
Action items – What you can do:
1) Get clear on your goals – There are a million ways to do this. One suggestion is to have one big goal and one little goal each day. It might take you a month or even a year to reach the big goal, but keep it in mind to help it direct your daily actions.
2) If you don’t have any goals, get some. Brainstorm and figure out what your really want for your life. Start taking action today, no matter how small. Start moving on a creative path, where you are purposefully creating your life instead of just coasting on auto-pilot.