“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
I continue to be intrigued by how men and women recover from addiction – chemical, sexual and even problems with food. I wonder how they do it – move forward, fashion a new life, get past old, destructive habits – to find new ground. Life-changing NEW GROUND.
Any human change to a better way, a new life, seems profound to me. What are the success factors that get us from point A to point B when the journey seems insurmountable, when the odds of getting their appear brutal? Especially when you have shaped your life around habits that affect the brain and become your “way of being.”
One author argues that with all the prescriptions for personal development in our world today, the one thing that’s missing is our tendency to focus on areas of life that don’t really matter. Could be the new car, career advancement, getting married, etc. All of these are ideas of how to be “happy” in life. instead, he argues, we need to focus on matters related to the soul and spirit – and the exciting agendas that flow out of some kind of focus on the divine.
I would agree and argue that true recovery from addiction, especially in the later stages of recovery, depends on aiming high, reflecting a desire to live a new life based on a vision of change and newness that’s compelling. One that honors our intrinsic spiritual nature – not just buying new cars and collecting “things.” This may come in later recovery, after destructive habits have been minimized. But the sooner the better.
I would suggest the need for a starting point in the recovery process, beyond mastering slips and relapses, where we can sink our teeth into what we need to do next – to support our growth and to abandon false paths that lead nowhere.
1. Let go of despair – the infection of the “I will never change” or “I can’t do it” virus. This means challenging negative beliefs that nothing new ever happens in my life. you created a life of addiction. You can create a life of conviction. Of new things and possibilities.
2. Think of your new life as a life of creation. Through meditation, prayer and determination, reflect on your own vision for a new life. With addiction, you haven’t wanted much more than the next use or high. So what do you want? What excites you? Do your best to think “big” and don’t limit yourself to possessions or goals that don’t support a bigger vision of joy and contentment.
Life isn’t’ about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
3. Be mindful of the moment. Live in it, not outside of time where you bask in what could have been or may never be. Focus on what blessing(s) may be present NOW or direction may be possible NOW. Cultivate belief in the possible and what you thought was impossible – believe it is limitless.
4. Cultivate courage – a new emotion that rivals the negativity you probably live with around hope. Our attempts to replace discouragement and helplessness with courage go a long way. Find others who support you in this and model courage in their own recovery and life path.
5. Act now – not later. How many attempts at recovery have been undermined by fear and never quite getting started. Actions that support our vision for our new life become essential – name them, do them despite anxiety or fear and keep doing them. New habits come from new actions – not just ideas in our head.
“Only one thing registers on the subconscious mind: repetitive application — practice. What you practice is what you manifest.”
I have the greatest respect for those who move from compulsive addictions to a new life – where the self is nurtured, happiness comes from inner change and hope is created. Because a new life is always created, guided by spiritual principles of growth and change that our maker has outlined and we consciously step into. Find your path and move along the journey with determination, persistence and always looking ahead. One that truly goes somewhere new.