When we hear the word “recovery”, we tend to equate it to those struggling with addiction. In our realm, it’s primarily what we see because those are the people we serve. However, recovery isn’t just for those struggling with substance abuse, it’s for everyone.
We are all born into something called the “human experience”. The experience of being human can leave us with deep wounds, complexes, insecurities, destructive habits, trauma, and warped realities. So, if you think about it, we all need to recover from the adverse effects of our human experiences. There are people out there who are carrying around decades and decades of pain who have never and will never acknowledge their need for healing through recovery. We meet them everyday and there are many in the circle of people we run with. Recovery is for them, and recovery is for us as well.
Folks who enter any form of recovery program have a better chance of discovering truths about themselves and the world around them and have opportunities to heal than the ones who live in denial. People who enter recovery are usually the ones whose lives have become so unmanageable that they are forced to do something about it and it’s in that very place where change can happen. The rest of society carries on with their manageable lives and is mostly unaware that anything is wrong. Possessions are a great cover-up for the rot that may be festering in one’s life. Isn’t it sad that we tend to look at what people have and what they’ve accomplished as an indicator of their wellbeing? People can have a nice car, a modest house, a good-paying job, but go home and yell at their kids every night. Or spend the evening tossing back a few drinks. Or being verbally abusive to their spouse. Or mulling over past regrets and living there in their mind. Or neglecting the weight of everything by binge-watching soaps until bed. Or wondering if the world would be better without them in it. But they still have a car, a house, a job, and a family…so everything must be okay. There are indicators all throughout our society that points to the fact that everyone needs recovery, and we live in a world that is incredibly broken.
We would live in a very different world if we all acknowledged our need for healing not just when things are bad, but when things are good. You don’t stop taking vitamins when you feel healthy or stop brushing your teeth when they look good. A recovery state of mind should be just as much part of our day as making sure we are intaking the proper amount of water or brushing our teeth before bed. Recovery isn’t a one-time event or something you turn to when things get ugly, it’s a lifestyle to practice and adopt into our everyday lives.
For a lot of people, it takes a pretty big wake-up call for them to change. So, although having lost everything and walking through the doors of a recovery centre can bring up a lot of shameful feelings, it is actually an incredible place to be! It means a person has said, “I can’t do this on my own and I need help” and it opens the door to the possibility of wholeness. There is something incredibly grace-filled and beautiful in these dark places. There is hope. And the darker it is, the more appealing the light becomes. This isn’t to say everyone needs to find themselves in these dark places before they decide to change. It just means people who find themselves in these places have an easier time admitting their need for help. And at this stage of the game, recovery isn’t optional anymore, it’s critical.
So, what does a recovery lifestyle look like to the average person? It looks like continually assessing the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs of oneself and creating an action plan to address areas of concern by getting to root issues before they become destructive in one’s life. It’s being mindful of our wellbeing and being diligent in maintaining it. There isn’t one single person on this planet who doesn’t have an area of concern and when we deal with one, another is guaranteed to pop up again like whack-a-mole! This is life and we have a choice every day to deal with our issues or let them grow.
Practically speaking, here are some things you can do today to help you in your own recovery journey.
- Assess and Address
It’s important to take time to assess where we are truly at. Sometimes all it takes is talking something through with a trusted friend the same way a recovering addict would reach out to their sponsor. Other times it’s wise to make a counselling or Inner Healing appointment to dig deeper into the “why” and deal with root issues. And sometimes it’s simply journaling it out and getting honest with how you’re truly doing. By doing this, we are dealing with things as they arise and preventing them from developing into an action that could cause turmoil in our lives.
- Positive Input
Just like what you eat can be bad for you, so can who you hang out with and what you spend your time listening to and watching. Be extremely choosey in what and who you spend your time on as these things can either add to or take away from your wellbeing. Hanging out with someone who is constantly gossiping or negative can make us behave the same way, and consuming entertainment that is garbage can leave us feeling like something has been taken away from us. Protect your body, mind, and spirit by setting new standards on what you will allow into your life.
- Attitude of Gratitude
It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of stinking thinking, and it can be very challenging to get out of it as it takes mindfulness, intention, and practice. Practicing gratitude can be a game-changer in many areas of our life as it can literally reshape how you view yourself, others, and the world. It may feel foreign to begin with, but it gets easier the more you do it. There are many ways to practice gratitude. You can do it while driving to an appointment or at home in a journal. The idea of this is to reshape the mind by choosing to focus on the good in your life as opposed to the bad.
- Celebrate the Wins
If you’re practicing recovery in your own life, you will always be changing and growing. Celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small! It takes a lot of work and intention to change, so celebrate it by acknowledging the change and giving yourself a pat on the back. Not only will this feel really good, but it will provide positive reinforcement in your own life and encourage you to keep going. And if it weren’t for all of the small wins, you would never reach a milestone.
If you’re considering practicing recovery in your own life, here are some fantastic community supports that can help get you going!