Recovery has been a real journey for me.
At first, it was all I could do to just stay clean, one day at a time. I managed this by living in a long term treatment center, something that I highly recommend for any struggling addict or alcoholic.
But as my recovery continued, and I started to accumulate a bit of clean time, my sponsor started pushing me to do more. He wanted me to get a job and go back to college, among other things.
At first I resisted these changes. I wanted to focus on “recovery.” Little did I realize at the time that he was pushing me to do exactly that–to recover!
Photo by Chris Walker
Some of the big keys for me for growing in body, mind, and spirit:
I started with a big push for spiritual exploration and growth. Living in long term treatment, this was my only focus for the first 6 months or so. I pushed myself to learn as much as I could about spirituality and tried hard to practice the principles that I was learning about. I truly believe this has been the foundation for my recovery.
A few years ago, in an attempt to quit cigarettes, I adopted an exercise program, and stuck to it. This has been huge for me. I’m not talking about a short stop at a gym once a week where you barely break a sweat–I’m talking about dedicated, regular exercise that produces real benefits. While this could vary from person to person, for me, it meant jogging at least 3 times each week. This ritual has become a central part of my recovery.
I went back to school as well. I am now about 6 weeks away from a Bachelor’s degree. And to think, I really didn’t want to go back! Crazy. This just shows me that we need to push ourselves to grow.
Action items – what you can do:
1) Don’t neglect any major part of your life. If your physical health deteriorates, for example, this can lead directly to a “spiritual” or emotional relapse (as I have seen in the past with so many others).
2) Find balance. Push yourself to learn and grow in new areas. I still have several goals regarding my own growth in mind, such as improving my health through better nutrition (I’m finding that one to be particularly difficult). It’s all part of the holistic approach to recovery–try to stay fit in several areas (emotional, physically, spiritually, etc.) so that you don’t become unbalanced.
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