The Lessons in Recovery

There are people who can use drugs and alcohol and don’t become addicted.

You are not one of those people.

You became addicted. And addiction brought problems to your life. So, whether by choice or coercion, you realized you needed to make a change. Now you’re in recovery. At the risk of sounding Pollyannaish, through recovery you’re opening yourself to a great opportunity. In a lot of ways, it could be the best thing to ever happen to you. In recovery you’ll be able to shine a light on yourself in a way that most people will never get to. Not to say that it’s easy or even pleasant – there may be many times when it won’t be. In fact, learning about yourself, in that deep way that recovery demands, could be about the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. Especially if there are traumas involved. The work is arduous and it demands the naked honesty.

One of the lessons in recovery is that self-knowledge is critical to sustaining sobriety.

Here are six vital lessons you will learn while you’re in recovery:

  • You will learn Trust: More significantly, you will learn to trust yourself. After trusting yourself for too long to do the wrong thing, now you have to trust your strength and resolve to do what’s right. This trust may include trusting your discomfort. This in turn can trigger stress or insecure feelings. This can include trusting yourself when you sense that a relationship isn’t going to work. It’s not that relationships in recovery can’t succeed, they can, but jumping into a relationship too soon is common precursor to relapse. Trust the feelings: Don’t judge.
  • You will learn Forgiveness: This includes forgiving yourself as well as others. Chances are that when you were using you said and did regrettable things. The damages could be physical, emotional, psychological, and financial. To forgive is to cancel debts and give up claims for reimbursement. Holding onto debts only creates pain. Sometimes forgiving others is easier than forgiving yourself. Continuing to punish yourself over mistakes you’ve made will keep you from making true progress in your recovery. Without self-forgiveness you won’t find resolution and happiness will be difficult.
  • You will learn Patience: Learning to trust yourself is one thing, getting others to trust you again may take some time. While everyone loves quick results you have to remember that recovery is a slow, one-day-at-a-time process. Your loved ones will have to learn this too. The practice of life as an addict is the opposite of patience. Addiction makes you selfish and self-centered. Patience requires mindfulness and tolerance. You can’t indulge every urge or craving. You will need to come to terms with the suffering. You will need to learn to feel it, hold yourself in it. As you gain patience with yourself you will find patience with others. Patience allows you to think of others and to consider their needs: Patience increases patience.
  • You will learn about Intimacy: Not talking about sex here. Drugs and alcohol are great for providing distance. They build a chasm between the user and their emotions and the emotions of others. But this dynamic can’t survive into sobriety. Recovery is a highly emotional experience. You’ll find that some of your relationships won’t be salvageable in recovery. Bad relationships can bring relapse – rather than focusing entirely on yourself and your sobriety, your attention is on another person. Sobriety requires all your dedication and energy for building a healthy lifestyle and building self-confidence. The irony is that sobriety is also a time for developing strong new bonds with people. Research has shown that family and friends can be the most important factor in a recovery. Twelve-Step programs are built on fellowship. The support makes you stronger. The burdens of addictive thinking can often be more than a person can handle alone.
  • You will learn Vulnerability: This is the companion of intimacy. As your trust grows and you are able to open up to other person, so too will your vulnerability. You feel vulnerable to your therapist, your co-travelers in recovery, loved ones. For someone who has walled off their vulnerabilities with drugs and alcohol this can be a tough one. It’s often recommended that it’s best to wait until you’re in at least one year of recovery before starting a new relationship. Being vulnerable in recovery also means that other people can help you. You won’t have to suffer in silence. The truth is, you can only experience love to the extent that you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability can help you develop meaningful relationships and, ultimately, happiness.
  • You will learn Adaptability: Your life has become very dynamic. You’re in a new dimension. You’ll not only have work to do on your own but you’ll have work in group meetings and support groups as well. Worry too much about the withdrawal symptoms and the symptoms will only seem worse. If the expectation is that recovery is going to be difficult, it will be. This includes engaging in negative self-talk. Discomfort comes from resisting change. Facing the issues and adapting accordingly to the changes can help you avoid maladaptive or other compulsive behaviors, or worse, relapse.

 

If you or a loved one have an addiction to alcohol, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.

6 Crucial Lessons You Will Learn in Recovery