Drug addicts and alcoholics are hooked on instant gratification. We tend to “want it now” rather than later. And we have trained ourselves into this mindset based on years of alcohol or drug use. When we took our drug of choice and used it, we gave our brains and our body an instant and artificial reward.
Not only were we addicted to drugs and alcohol but we became addicted to the idea of immediate relief. The became drawn towards the ability to self medicate and escape from reality at the drop of a hat. This ability to flip our emotional states on and off was as important to us as any other aspect of our addiction. We wanted the ability to change our mood at will. Our drug of choice prevented us from having to deal with our emotions. If we were upset about something in our lives, we could simply self medicate and avoid having to feel our feelings. This was what instant gratification was all about when it came to our drug use. When we talk about escaping reality, what we are really talking about is escaping our emotions, and avoiding the reality of having to process our feelings. We were not running from the world but in fact we were running from ourselves.
So regardless of why we originally started using our drug of choice, eventually it became a necessary escape each day. Our instant gratification was actually a need for instant relief so that we did not have to face ourselves or our lives. Regardless of how you frame it, we addicts and alcoholics became addicted to the need for instant gratification in our lives.
Well, creative recovery serves up a form of instant gratification. When you create something new in your life, you get that instant rush of euphoria, that sense of accomplishment, that instant feedback. Creation becomes our new outlet for instant gratification. It is an action-oriented approach to setting and reaching new goals in recovery. You will not experience these benefits by sitting at home on your couch all day and wishing things were different. You take action in your life and thus create results. If you don’t get the results you want then you change your approach as you go along. This is learning….learning how to live a new life in recovery.
When we take a holistic approach to learning new things in recovery then we open ourselves up to lots and lots of possibilities for instant gratification. For example, we might try exercising at some point, and really feel great with the results after we finally find the internal motivation to actually get out there and do it. Or we might reach out and help a newcomer in recovery who is struggling with their sobriety. This too would give us immediate feedback, and would strengthen our recovery in a big way. It is not necessarily something that has to build up over time….we can experience the benefits of creative recovery right now, by simply taking positive action.
Choose to create something in your life and you can once again tap into the power of instant gratification.