The other day we looked at some of the fundamental principles of recovery. We examined the idea that there are certain structural changes that must occur in the recovering addict’s life, as well as certain attitudes and mindsets that must be adopted in order for them to stay clean and sober.
Today we are going to look at some of the fundamentals of creative recovery.
Creative recovery is a strategy used by recovering addicts and alcoholics who seek to create a new life for themselves using a holistic approach.
Look at the winners in recovery, and see if their approach to growth in life is very narrow, or if it is expansive. Chances are good that you will find the people who are enjoying long term success in recovery have found ways to grow in several directions at once. Ask them about their spirituality, about their emotional stability, about their relationships and if they have improved, about their physical health, about their mental status and well-being. Those who stay clean and sober are growing on many planes at the same time.
We might not have purpose in our life during our first week of sobriety. That is OK. But as we stay clean and sober, those who follow the creative approach to recovery will find certain things that are important to them. For example, a recovering addict might find a way to reach out and help other addicts who are struggling to recover. Over time this can give the recovering addict a real sense of purpose in their life and can add meaning for them.
This is a fundamental occurrence in long term recovery as everyone who stays clean and sober will slowly start to prioritize their life. Family and friends become more important and we start to care more about ourselves and about others. This leads us to find purpose in our life when we start matching up our talents and strengths with ways that we can help others.
Goals and self esteem
In creative recovery we start out by setting goals for ourselves. For example, I had goals within the first few years of recovery to improve my fitness, quit smoking cigarettes, find a meaningful job, and finish my education. At the time of becoming clean and sober, my self esteem was pretty lousy, but meeting these goals started to boost it a little bit more each time. The key for me was to take deliberate action and create this new life for myself one piece at a time.
This is fundamental to recovery because those who try to boost their self esteem without taking action end up doing so in some artificial manner. Simply sitting on the couch and wishing that things were different is not enough to change a person from the inside out. The real change happens through action; through creation. We have to get out there and make real change happen in our life in order to see positive results in recovery.
Everyone that I have watched in recovery who did not take this kind of action-based approach to their life ended up relapsing. In other words, those who were passive and lazy about their recovery inevitably relapsed. Those who took action and tried to create new things in their life did much better.