As a person in long-term recovery as well as a coach that works with individuals and groups around substance abuse and addictive behaviour disorders, I sometimes find the amount of ideas, thought, theories and models around addiction and recovery somewhat confusing!? And the thing that I find the most overwhelming is that there seems to be way to much vying to be right and not nearly enough time taking the individual’s needs, wants and ideas into account when addressing their personal addiction journey. Add a giant spoonful of guilt and shame on the part of the substance/behaviour abuser into the mix and it gets really messy and complex. And don’t forget how much the average person on the street likes a neat little diagnosis so that they can put everything into some sort of perspective, and it gets even more complicated in my opinion.
The truth is that there are many reasons for addiction such as unresolved issues of guilt, shame and trauma, inability to change current situation, a false belief system and chemical imbalance. So that’s what gets people into addiction where we develop habitual thought and behaviour patterns around using and doing, which we can justify and explain away for a while, but then inevitably things get bewildering and we decide to make some changes. Whether this involves attending a 12-step meeting, entering a treatment program, making an appointment with the family doctor or visiting a recovery coach, we begin to realise that our lives are a little less stellar than we imagined they would be! And those are all great steps to take in order to move from a culture of addiction into a culture of recovery. By getting honest, open and willing we can begin our recovery journey. But that’s just the beginning and too many people believe that 28 days in a treatment program, a couple of months in a fellowship or a prescription from their doctor is going to change everything. The truth is that getting clean is one thing, staying clean is another.
The biggest challenge is making lasting changes to our thoughts and behaviour. Learning new, healthy coping techniques, which don’t involve self medication, setting SMART goals and developing action plans to move forward in life. Because often it’s safe and easy to stay where we are, doing the same things that we have always done, talking about what we don’t want to do or be. It’s a lot harder to start to determine what we do want, where we want to go and how we are going to get there. Just ask yourself this simple little question, “What kind of man/woman do I want to be?” Think of what values and principles you want to develop, how you want your personal and professional life to look and where you are going in your life? It’s probably not as easy as you initially thought it might be!? And what do you need to get you to this life that you have envisioned!?
That’s where #recoverycapital comes into the picture. These are the personal resources that you (not me) have at your disposal in order to support you moving forward in your recovery. What do you need socially, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually to support you in your recovery and wellness? Rather than thinking of what you don’t have, think of what you do have and what you could potentially have, to move forward in your life. Imagine what you want to move towards and what you can capitalise on to help you get there. Too often I hear the words “I really don’t want…”, but I believe that by simply reframing this into the positive statement of “What I really want is…” we are instantly in a different mental space, shifting our thoughts from the past into the present and future. Isn’t it more exciting to think of the infinite possibilities that we can create in the present, rather than the guilt- and shame-laden thoughts of the past. Instead of looking over our shoulders at what we are trying to leave behind, think about creating a new, exciting existence to move towards.
Everyone’s #recoverycapital is unique and personal!! Where my physical #recoverycapital might include long walks on the beach and a healthy eating plan, yours might be mountain biking or martial arts, with plenty of sleep and really great sex. Spiritual #recoverycapital is equally as diverse including faith-based activities for some to 12-step meetings, meditation and modern-day spiritualism for others. Studying and education can be a form of mental #recoverycapital, as can reading, travelling or taking up a new hobby. Socially, spending time with family and friends, joining a sports team or a book club, and doing volunteer work can be a resource to support your personal recovery. We can also build emotional resources through personal development, being part of a support group, spending time pursuing healthy lifestyle choices or signing up for courses and workshops in areas of personal interest. The idea of all this is that there is not just one thing that supports us, and so we need to explore and develop resources in all these areas of our lives. Too often we become over focused in one area, but neglect the others.
In the work that I do, one of my primary areas of focus is to assist individuals in creating and developing their #recoverycapital inline with the personal resources that they have at their disposal. It’s an exciting process that encourages one to explore different possibilities and ideas on how to empower one’s self and be proactive in developing what you need to achieve those dreams you have, achieve those goals you have set and become the person you want to become!
Til Next Time,
For more information on #recoverycapital and living a life of fulfillment and purpose, please feel free to contact me | firstname.lastname@example.org | (082)442-5710 for a free introductory session.