When we are on a path of healing, such as when we are in recovery, it’s natural to want to stay open to ideas about how to stay healthy. It’s common to want to be receptive to the various ways to improve our lives. However, sometimes what works for one person may not work for another. And what works for you might not work for another. Yet, an essential part of recovery is discovering what does work for you, what you need to stay healthy, and the daily activities you need to do in order to avoid spiraling downward. Recovery is always unique to the person on the journey, which means that it’s a process of both healing and discovering oneself.
At times of course, you might be faced with moments of challenge and you might have to communicate what is true for you. For instance, when you receive guidance from someone you admire or look up to and you know that person’s suggestion doesn’t agree with your values, you might have to communicate how you feel. For example, if you are someone that would rather try natural remedies before resorting to medication and your sponsor suggests that you visit a psychiatrist to assist with depression, you might need to let your sponsor know how you feel. You may need to remind him or her from time to time that you need to follow your own heart on your path of healing.
It’s tricky because there may be an inner struggle. There might be an inner conflict with wanting to say yes to meet the desires of someone you look up to. Perhaps you don’t want to disappoint that person. However, if you can stay true to yourself and not give into the pressure of wanting to be accepted by your friend or acquaintance, you might find that the person you’re speaking to has more respect for you – for knowing who you are, for knowing what works for you and what doesn’t, and for being able to communicate your feelings.
In fact, for many recovering addicts, staying true to yourself is a skill that needs to be developed. Often, there are relationship patterns, especially those of codependency and enabling that undermine one’s ability to be themselves. Codependency in particular is a pattern where men and women tend to give up who they are for the sake of the relationship. They tend to ignore their own needs and desires in fear of losing the relationship. Because of this there might be a tendency for recovering addicts to give up who they are, possibly in the presence of authority or when working with a professional they admire.
If you can cultivate the skill of staying true to yourself despite the fears you have, ultimately you will never again have the experience of self-betrayal. You will grow more and more confident in who you are.
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