I’m not sure if most people are clinically depressed when first getting sober or if they are just naturally feeling defeated. Most of us are not on top of the world when we finally surrender and decide that we really don’t know how to live.
Given that, early recovery can be a bit depressing, or at least feel that way.
The creative approach to recovery addresses this, however, with the idea that we can counter these negative feelings by taking certain actions. Here is how the creative theory can boost your energy level:
Find your passion
When I first got clean and sober I was not jumping out of bed each day with excitement. Eventually I did get to this point, but it took several months of sobriety before I was actually excited about each day and looking forward to it.
Part of this is due to the lack of passion for anything when you first get clean. This naturally occurs because our lives were previously consumed with passion for the drugs and the alcohol, and suddenly that has been stripped away.
Successful recovery = passionate living. There will always be the temptation to return to our love of drugs and alcohol, so what are you going to replace that desire with? You have to create something new and special in your life to take the place of it. Consider the following examples:
1) The recovering addict who becomes deeply involved in 12 step fellowships and sponsorship.
2) The recovering addict who goes back to school to become a therapist to help other addicts.
3) The recovering addict who finally achieves their dream of becoming a veterinarian (or a musician, or a teacher, etc.).
Get the idea? It’s about finding your passion in life. Without doing this, you run the risk of returning to the passion you had for drugs and alcohol. Walking through life like a zombie is not very fulfilling.
Regain purpose for helping and connecting with others
Passion and purpose are closely tied together. But it’s important too that you find purpose in recovery. Why purpose? So that your efforts in life are meaningful. It helps to know that you are making a difference.
This is about self esteem, too. Self esteem is so important that we could actually frame our entire concept of recovery just on the idea of building self esteem (in fact, the creative theory seeks to do just that).
So when you find your passion hopefully it involves some level of purpose for you in a way that can benefit others. Notice in the 3 examples above that the recovering addicts find their passion through meaningful activities. They are connecting with others. Purpose is about relationships and how we help others to grow.
What is your gift to the world? How can you empower others? Find the answer to that and start living it. That is how to regain passion and purpose in your life.
Now getting back to early recovery….finding your passion might not happen overnight. It might take some time. The thing to do is hang on through the transitional period and keep on practicing the strategies of the creative theory. Doing so will eventually start to pay dividends:
1) Care for yourself, in every way possible. Your health and well being is priority number one.
2) Push yourself to grow, in many different areas. Holistic growth is the key. Don’t limit yourself to spiritual growth. Go beyond that.
3) Network with others, in meaningful ways. In early recovery it’s suggested that you build a network of recovering people.
Holistic approach will demand physical exercise
Now another part of the puzzle here is that if you practice the creative theory and actually use a holistic approach to growth, then you are going to be doing some physical exercise. It is unavoidable and it’s much more important than most people give it credit for.
I have found that nearly everyone underestimates the power of regular exercise. The more depressed you are in early recovery, the more important this idea becomes. If you exercise vigorously just 3 times a week, this will make a huge difference in how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
Of course not everyone is going to be a world class athlete but that’s not what this is about. If you can move your body with some form of exercise, and force yourself to do it on a regular basis, then you will feel tremendously better. And what better time to start such a habit then in early recovery, when it will have the most impact?
Synergy effect from holistic growth = higher energy level
If you take most of the suggestions in this article and put them to use, you’ll get some outstanding results that are greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, if you fully embrace the creative theory and start applying all of the strategies simultaneously, you’ll get much better results than if you just pick and choose what you think will work for you.
The reason for this is because your self esteem will be more complete. You’ll get some from your physical exercise, some from networking with others, and some from pushing yourself to grow in different ways. This is what makes the holistic approach so powerful – it builds a more complete and solid recovery than a single-strategy approach (such as a spiritual program).
Do yourself a favor and think holistically.