When we are at the top of our game in recovery, what we are doing is miles away from addiction.
We are living with passion and purpose, making daily decisions about how to live our life the way we want to live it.
We are creating our own reality from a place of high consciousness, instead of merely existing or “going through the motions.”
This is not the recovery that you see everyday in traditional recovery programs (although there are some “winners” there too). What I’m getting at here is that we should be striving for the creative life in recovery right from the start.
Even if you only have a few days clean and sober, you should start thinking about what you want to do with your life. What do you want to create?
Don’t delay the transition
In early recovery, my sponsor was trying to push me to grow in new directions, and I resisted this. Looking back, I can’t help but cringe at what a fool I was being. He was trying to unlock the true potential of my life, and all I wanted to do was to sit in the safety of a treatment center all day. Remember, recovery is about living life. This is something that I learned eventually but it took a while for me to get there.
If you start your recovery process with treatment of some sort then you are going to have a laser focus at first on just staying clean and sober. This is a good thing, because that is usually what it takes to make it through early recovery. Don’t be afraid to go overboard with your efforts to stay clean and work a good recovery program.
At the same time, however, don’t be afraid to look forward to the future. You are not going to live the rest of your life inside of an AA meeting. It is possible that you might always come back to them (if that is your thing) but 90 percent of your recovery for the rest of your life is going to be about living life and will not be about recovery related therapy and meetings and groups and such. In other words, you are going to have to figure out how to live a sustainable life in recovery.
What can sustain you? Yes going to meetings and working a program and going to groups and working with a sponsor can help, but remember that this will only represent a small percentage of your life in long term recovery. Those things will help and you can always use them but they are not your whole life. In early recovery they might make up 90 percent of your life, but in long term sobriety that is not sustainable. In long term sobriety those things might make up 10 or 20 percent of your life.
So how are you going to sustain long term recovery? What is going to drive you to stay sober in the long run?
My answer to this is creation. You have to create in order to stay sober over the long haul.
Robin Williams said that creation is like a high; that it gives you an endorphin rush. I could not agree more. I love the benefits of living the creative theory and I think everyone in recovery should try to live this way.
What is the creative theory? It is action oriented, goal driven, purpose driven living. Nothing very original necessarily, but not typically applied to recovery either. Here are the basics that I’ve laid out for myself:
1) Care for yourself
2) Network with others
3) Push yourself to grow holistically
I think the common thread in all three strategies is the boost in self esteem. When you really feel good about yourself then that is when you are rocking your recovery. When your self esteem is high then the chance for relapse is extremely low or non-existent.
You can learn more about the creative theory right here if you’re interested.