Momentum is one of the key concepts in the creative theory of recovery. At first I thought a better word for it was volition or even conviction, but then I realized that those words did not convey the aspect of building up, the strengthening of resolve we experience, or the way we continuously raise the bar for ourselves in the creative life. In my experience, we start out slowly in recovery and generate momentum.
One of the sayings you might hear at 12 step meetings is: “You’re either working on recovery, or you’re working on a relapse.” The idea here is that there is no in-between, no way to simply tread water and maintain the status quo in terms of your spiritual growth and personal development.
In recovery, if you stop growing, you fail. Simple as that.
So, what does continuous growth and development feel like? The answer is momentum. Your life should stay exciting based on the goals you have and the processes you’re involved in.
The key concepts of momentum:
1) Success breeds success – progress and gains made in one area of your life can create a positive ripple effect into other areas. An example of this might be when success in education leads to advances in your career. Another example (from my own life) would be when a lifestyle choice (such as regular jogging) leads to other healthy choices (such as quitting smoking).
2) Momentum can be created through learning – This includes spiritual insights and emotional maturity. We might have an experience, and something will dawn on us, and we’ll see the world in a new way. Not only do we learn something, but we have an awareness about our learning. This can heighten our senses to new opportunities so that we can experience even more revelations. In other words, we learn about learning, and become better at it through a heightened awareness.
3) Continuously raising the bar – We feel good when we reach a goal or accomplish something in recovery. But to attain the creative life, we need to continuously create more. So we raise the bar for ourselves and pursue something further. For example, most cigarette smokers who attain a few years in recovery eventually “raise the bar” for themselves and try to quit smoking. It’s not enough to “settle” for mere abstinence from drugs and alcohol–the creative life in recovery pushes us to go further with things. Thus we set new goals and start building momentum.
Do you have a sense of momentum in your life today, or do you need to kick start things?