Recovering Mentally, Spiritually, Physically, and Emotionally – Categories for Changing Your Life

Recovering Mentally, Spiritually, Physically, and Emotionally – Categories for Changing Your Life

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The creative theory of recovery is a holistic approach. Therefore, we are going to look at several categories here: physical, mental, emotional, and so on. But notice that the processes that make up these categories are not universal. Meaning that not every person in recovery will go through each bullet point listed below. They don’t have to. But they do have to make progress in each area.

This is part of the paradox of recovery: on the one hand, recovery is simple, and we all go through the same basic processes. On the other hand, recovery is complex, and we each go through unique experiences in our growth.

Take a look at these categories and the examples. Although not all examples will apply to each recovering person, the overall category does apply. We all grow in different ways, yet we are on the same path. Take a look:

1) Physical – these processes start out with detoxification, actually getting clean and sober, and then the post acute withdrawal syndrome that can last up to several months. It takes time for the body to fully detox. Later on in “second stage recovery,” people might go through other physical processes, such as:

* Quitting smoking
* Seeking fitness
* Adjusting for better sleep patterns
* Better eating habits
* Weight loss
* Nutrition

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In this category, the overall process is from

Toxic choices, unhealthy body –> Caring for self, healthier choices.

Obviously, the exact processes will vary from person to person. For example, not everyone smokes, nor does each person need to lose weight. But in all cases, the overall process still follows the general direction from less healthy towards more healthy living. Keep this in mind as you read through the following categories. In each case, the examples might not apply to everyone, but the overall process and direction will be.

2) Emotional – An absolutely critical aspect of recovery. Includes some major processes such as:

* Dealing with resentments
* Learning to abandon self-pity
* Learning how to grieve without self-medicating
* Learning how to deal with fear and anger and communicate feelings with others

In this category, the overall process is from

Emotional immaturity and emotional instability –> emotional maturity and stability.

Basically, we learn how to deal with our emotions and communicate them honestly with others. But these habits (such as self-pity, for example) can be so ingrained that it might take a fairly long and drawn out process to achieve emotional maturity in some cases.

3) Mental – This category refers to our obsessive thinking and thought patterns:

* Learning to avoid negative, defeating self-talk
* Increasing awareness (useful for just about every aspect of recovery)
* Intellectually rise up a level in order to better apply abstract recovery concepts to our own lives

In this category, the overall process is from

Unhealthy thinking patterns –> healthy thinking patterns.

And from

Obsessive thinking –> meditative, quiet mind

4) Spiritual

* Start utilizing spiritual practices: prayer, meditation, mindfulness, etc.
* Learn to use faith, intuition, and meditation to help make decisions and guide actions
* Seek to help others on their journey, both in and out of recovery

In this category, the overall process is from

Self centeredness –> Interest in others

And from

Ego-driven life –> God-focused, or reliance on a higher power

5) Social

* Stop isolating
* Choose healthier friends
* Stay away from slippery places (bars, crackhouse, etc.)

In this category, the overall process is from

Isolation and despair –> Healthy interactions with others

And from

Drinking buddies –> Genuine friendships

6) Significant others (relationships)

* Eliminate abuse from relationships / get out of abusive relationships
* Eliminate codependent behaviors from relationships / get out of codependent relationships
* Choose healthier partners

In this category, the overall process is from

Codependent –> Interdependent

And from

Unhealthy relationships –> Healthy relationships

So that is the basic overview of processes in recovery. Note that these processes make up the foundation of everything we do, and can be a useful guide especially in early recovery (when we tend to be more process-oriented). Later in recovery, we become more vision-oriented and let the processes take care of themselves. More on that later….


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