Finding Creative Solutions in Recovery with “Both-And” Thinking

Finding Creative Solutions in Recovery with “Both-And” Thinking


Lately I’ve been focusing on finding creative solutions in my recovery using “both-and” thinking instead of “either-or” thinking.

The idea has been popping up more and more. You’ve heard of win-win situations, right? Those are always examples of “both-and” thinking.

“Both-and” thinking will tend to:

1) Create win-win situations

2) Be a better outcome than the usual compromise that disappoints everyone

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3) Focus on helpfulness and compassion in relationships

Tom suggests in his article that this “both-and thinking” will really take off “when two requirements are satisfied-you have the desire to rise above self-centeredness and the discipline to practice it.”

Now Tom is suggesting that both-and thinking is a way to succeed in business, but his ideas correspond perfectly with the action-oriented mindset needed to succeed in recovery. Just look at all of the winners you know in recovery–they are energetic and enthusiastic people, always ready to step up to the plate and help out another addict or alcoholic. These are the winners in recovery, the people who are always the happiest and seem to have everything going smoothly for them. Why? They are using “both-and” thinking.

It is this synergistic effect that produces powerful results when one addict reaches out to help another. When isolated, both addicts might be relatively weak. But together they can help each other and produce something that is truly greater than the sum of it’s part. This is why networking in recovery is so powerful.

By offering to be genuinely helpful to their fellow addicts and alcoholics, the “winners” in recovery are actually boosting their own recovery by an immeasurable amount. This is the essence of step 12, and a key concept in the creative life in recovery.

So the next time you are facing an “either-or” situation, where someone comes out a loser, look instead for the “both-and” solution. You just might find a healthier path for both individuals, and benefit your recovery as well.


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