Many in early recovery from drugs and alcohol ask:
“Is this all there is?”
By Brian McAlister – President and CEO of Freedom 365
According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) 1 in 5 Americans suffer from Substance Use Disorder and 70% are employed. If you or someone you know is struggling with Substance Use Disorder you are not alone.
I was born with the “MORE” gene. It’s part of who I am. That’s probably one of the reasons I acquired a substance use problem. It’s also why I have been able to enjoy an amazing life in recovery. I learned to use this “MORE” character trait constructively rather than destructively. I was able to repurpose this character trait to improve my relationships, career, and finances.
At some point most recovering people find themselves asking: Is this all there is? Am I destined to spend my life in church basements attending 12-step meetings? Will I always be struggling to make ends meet? Will I ever find true love? What is my purpose in life? I have seen scores of people get sober, yet not be able to experience all the joy and abundance recovery offers. They continue to struggle in their relationships and suffer the burden of financial scarcity. These real challenges are often contributing factors to relapse.
My experience is that the true joy of recovery is redirecting our “more” tendencies to achieve our positive worthwhile goals. If you are seeking some fresh ideas on how to get the most out of recovery, I have a few suggestions.
1) Be careful how you talk to yourself
We talk to ourselves all day long. And the conversations either propel us forward or drag us backward. During active addiction many of us developed the habit of mentally beating ourselves up. This sadistic habit can stay with us long after we stop using. “The voice” in our head tells us: I’m not good enough, pretty enough or talented enough. Sometimes we reinforce weak suggestions such as: Someday I’ll fall in love. Someday I’ll finish college. Someday I’ll make more money. Remember – Today is Someday!
Suggestion: Write down four positive affirmations and read them aloud several times a day or whenever you drift into unproductive thinking patterns. Over time they will become part of your subconscious. This is an easy way to create a new positive habit.
A few examples are: I am healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I can achieve all my goals. I can create the reality of my choosing. I am sober, free, and loved.
2) Ask yourself better questions
Better questions produce better answers. Better answers ensure better results. What kind of questions are you asking? Do you begin your day with unproductive questions such as: Why do I have to wake up? How come I never get a break? Why do I have to go to work? I don’t know if I can succeed so why bother trying? These types of questions instantly produce negative emotions putting unneeded stress on your entire being. Physically our bodies tense up, self-esteem plummets and we can even feel achy and nauseous. Mentally we become depressed. These types of questions are carryover habits from our days in active addiction.
Suggestion: Begin a new empowering habit of starting your day in a productive way by asking better questions. Examples would be: What would I do today if I had unlimited time, freedom, and money? How can I do something enjoyable and get paid for it? What would I do if success were guaranteed? How am I going to have fun TODAY?
This is not idle daydreaming. This is how you design a life. All human accomplishments begin in the workshop of the mind. These types of questions, when answered intelligently, give you clues as to what really interests you. When you do something you like, you do it with enthusiasm and it doesn’t feel like work. Do something with enthusiasm, instead of just for a paycheck, and you typically do it well. Do something well and you will earn more money and increased self-esteem.
3) Take Action
Faith without works is dead. We all have had good ideas and grand dreams about what we want to do, own, or accomplish but few of us take the consistent action required to turn our dreams into reality. A successful life rarely happens in a flash of brilliance or in a moment’s stroke of inspiration. More often, it happens, by taking consistent, focused, daily action over an extended period of time. A good idea might pop into your consciousness, but unless you take focused action, nothing will come of it. All the tools needed to maintain sobriety are transferable into everyday life. Sometimes the hardest part of becoming successful beyond sobriety is just getting started.
Suggestion: Write down one action step you could take today to turn your dreams into reality. It might be as simple as making a phone call. Maybe you want to register for a class. Perhaps you could find a mentor that already knows how to accomplish what you are seeking to accomplish. After all, isn’t that how most of us got sober? We took small steps on a daily basis, and it turned into a sober life. The same process can be used on your journey to abundance. At the very least write down your goal and place it where you will read it every day. Following through on these simple suggestions will increase your ability to make this your best year ever!