Recovery Requires ActionDec 13, 2020
Recovery is - and always will be - a verb. I used to think that once I made the decision to quit drinking, my life would magically change. I can now see that part of why I failed at many attempts to sobriety is because my focus was on the not-drinking part (instead of on the plan of recovery, also called “The Work”) and because I waited for something to happen. I claimed no authorship in this process, because I didn’t realize it was on me.
Guess what? You own this process.
This is your life. This is your journey. You are the author of your story. And even if at this point in time you feel pretty broken, and tired of the powerless cycle you’ve been stuck in - this is the time to take a deep breath and shift your perception. You are in charge now. You’ve made the decision to start your journey of recovery, and now you are about to move into action.
Fallacy: Recovery is a passive state.
Truth: Recovery is a verb. And it can move fast.
Recovery is a journey. It’s personal and unfolds differently for everyone. But I tell you this: If you start with an action mindset, your journey is bound to show the seeds of transformation in a deeper and even faster way. Bold, direct action was imperative for me, as I have a brain that will - if not fully engaged in a journey of daily action - sit on a couch, prop it’s feet up, and say “Dude, it’s not that bad. We can have a drink today. We deserve it.” If I didn’t have a daily plan, chances are good that I’d listen to it.
I needed to break the pattern that tied my feelings to my thoughts to my actions. The “I feel bad” led “I need just one drink” to “let’s just begin tomorrow” cycle.
Breaking this cycle is hard because there is a neuro-biological path (like ant-tracks that are deeply carved in the sand) that my addiction has established. The “trigger/reward” system that our brains and bodies get used to is strong. That path is all I knew to travel. I needed to build new ones.
Journeys of growth and transformation are hard to begin. Whether it’s leaving a toxic relationship with food, a relationship, a job, or any mental patterns - it’s not easy. Quitting drinking (or any other kind of drug) is hard. Knowing this from the start is important. Launching into action means gathering the weapons (tools) and making a war-plan. Knowing who you are fighting (your addiction - which feels like YOU) is important.
Here are some important things to know as you launch into action:
- Prepare yourself mentally for the battle ahead. Quitting your addiction (or any kind of toxic behavior) is like going to war against yourself. Be prepared for that - mentally, physically and spiritually.
- Action means action. Daily, consistent action directed towards the goal of recovery. This means you will create a path that gives you daily actions to follow. You don’t feel like it? Tough shit.
Be prepared to put your feelings (and your brain) on a shelf for a few weeks. Be prepared to take a deep breath and stay the course, even if your body and mind are screaming for something else.
- One day at a time. You’ve heard the words before, but they have never been as important as when you begin the journey of quitting and thriving. This mental “mode” of one day at a time is vital.
- Take ownership of this process. Don’t leave things to chance. Don’t wait for others to give you permission. You don’t wait until something magically happens (or does not happen). “Recovery” is only a word, until you realize it truly IS about recovering the “you” who got lost in the ocean of substance abuse.
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