If you take a look at those who are successful in recovery, a clear trend will emerge: they are successful in several areas of their life. We might even say that “everything is coming together for them.” But how do we get to this point?
Recovery starts slow
In the beginning, it’s all we can do just to stay clean and sober. Everything is an effort. Most of us have to use a brute force approach just to string together a few weeks of sobriety. But doing so can be the first step in a long string of victories for us.
People might say something to the newcomer like: “Just stick with it, things will get better.” This is not just hollow encouragement – things really do get better. As with most anything, there is a certain tipping point when you make it “out of the woods” and things start clicking for you. Someone with established sobriety can look back and realize this – that it was hard in the beginning but they made it through somehow because they stuck it out long enough.
Of course, success with sobriety is just the start. Physical abstinence becomes a platform on which to build the creative life. Greater things await for anyone who is actively engaged in creation.
There is a sense of momentum when walking the creative path. This is because we can build on previous successes.
One example of this might be all of those in recovery who eventually give up smoking cigarettes. This is a progression of their recovery. It is a move towards healthier living, made possible only by their sobriety. If they were still drinking or using drugs, they would almost surely still be smoking as well.
I eventually chose this path for myself and doing so led me in another direction: exercise. I purposefully chose to start exercising to try and replace some of the dopamine that I was missing from the smoking. And so I eventually got into a very healthy routine of regular exercise, which I had never really done before in my life.
Again, this was only made possible by my previous success with quitting smoking. My habit of exercise is another layer of success that was built up on top of previous ones.
Layers of success
This is how success is achieved in recovery – by building in layers. We can’t necessarily achieve everything all at once but we can usually make progress in some way.
Your vision for the life you want to create might seem like a fantasy world but you can definitely achieve it if you start slowly and build one layer of it at a time. Sobriety is your foundation. Physical abstinence should be your number one priority. You can start building good things from there.
Success breeds success. It takes a brute force approach to make it through early recovery but after that you can start building on top of your previous efforts. This is how recovery snowballs and it’s also why creative recovery is so powerful. You get better at creation with practice.
Celebrate your success in recovery and build on it.