In the first article of this series, Making the Great Change from Destroying to Creating Your Life (Part One), there was a lot of discussion regarding destruction and how addiction is in fact a self-abusive cycle. This article will focus on how to transform that destruction into creation, beginning anew, and making life-affirming choices instead of self-abusive ones.
- First, there is one essential requirement before making the great change from destruction to creation and that is this: there must be a belief that an individual can change. Deep inside, there must be a firm conviction that change is possible. Even if there is distrust for how that change will take place, that’s okay, only the belief that it is possible is necessary. This will be the foundation upon which the recovery process will unfold.
- Second, learning the process of addiction and becoming educated on how the cycle of abuse began can be a tool for empowerment. Rather than being lost in the throes of addiction and feeling victimized by the feelings, the need to drink, and the guilt that accompanies drinking, get smart. Learn about the process, typical destructive feelings, and the associated damaging behaviors. By becoming more educated an individual can potentially stop him or herself when the cycle begins. Although stopping mid-thought is more supported within a sober living community, education can be the first step towards empowerment and creating a new life.
- Third, because addiction often begins with a need to rid those awful feelings of shame and self-loathing, developing a healthy sense of self is important. This is none other than getting at the root of the problem. It’s a return to self-love, which can only lead to self-loving (instead of self-destructing) behavior. This obviously won’t happen over night, but with the help of a therapist it can happen. Sometimes, simply by being around others, who demonstrate self-loving behaviors such as taking good care of themselves, can be supportive. Also, although we can’t read other people’s thoughts, being around others whose thoughts are healthy, life affirming, expansive, proactive, and realistic can leave an unspoken impression.
- Fourth, individuals in this process will likely have to learn how to re-parent themselves. Dr. James Henman, a coach for those going through recovery, describes an addiction as a problem where the inner child is driving the bus of life. His book “Who’s Really Driving Your Bus?” explains that it is the child who has taken over in the addiction cycle and part of the path towards sobriety is learning how to be the mature adult again. The adult knows how to make productive, healthy, self-nurturing choices. The adult knows that despite feeling bad, having a drink is not the best choice. The adult knows that despite the physical pain, getting drunk won’t solve the problem. An essential part of recovery is learning how to be the parent again, loving that wounded inner child, and taking the steering wheel back into your own hands.
- Lastly, as the process of recovery continues to unfold, be sure to have someone to talk about these issues with. Be sure it is with someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and accepting. Conversations with that person should feel safe, comfortable, and easy. If there is a concern about confidentiality or lack of support, perhaps finding a different confidant is in order. This is not unlike having a sponsor in the 12-step program or having an individual therapist. Having someone to rely on can be a crucial part of the sober living process.
Making the change from destroying your life to creating a new one is indeed possible and there are many people who have accomplished this incredible endeavor. Relying on the stories of success and the support from sober living, friends, and family can facilitate creating the life you deserve.
If you are reading this on any blog other than Transcend Recovery Community or via my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit. You can find me on Twitter via @RecoveryRobert Come and visit our blog at http://TranscendRecoveryCommunity.com/blog