Addictionland - Addiction Recover Blog
"Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do the best."
– Marva Collins
Recovery is not an act it is a habit. The more we practice utilizing the tools of recovery the more integrated they become into our lives thus forming positive habits. As we continue doing the next right thing we continue to strengthen our resolve as recovering people. The truth is as we form habits those habits form who we become as people. Therefore, we want to form the right habits in order to build the best life possible.
Building daily disciplines in our lives are essential to a productive recovery process. Arising in the morning at a consistent hour on a daily basis is the start of a productive day. As the old saying goes, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Once the day has begun prayer and meditation on a consistent basis is one of the daily disciplines that help to promote wellness. Whether it is traditional prayer, journaling, positive affirmations, Eastern Meditation, Yoga, or simply talking to a higher power are all examples of prayer and meditation.
Attendance at mutual support meetings is an integral aspect of the recovery process both in the action and maintenance phases of recovery*. Mutual support whether it is a Twelve-Step process, SMART Recovery, or any other self-improvement program, group attendance at meetings is an essential aspect of the disciplines necessary to make lasting change.
Tony Robbins is quoted as saying, “Success leaves clues.” It is true if you want to recover from a hopeless state a good plan to adopt would be to find someone that has recovered, do what they did and do, and your chances for success increase. In the Twelve-Step community finding a sponsor is the equivalent of this principle. In amateur and professional sports having a coach is similar. Business leaders have mentors and religious folks have spiritual advisors. It simply makes sense to have a helping hand to guide you through the process. The daily discipline is to communicate with the sponsor or mentor every day and to take their advice....
"People in good moods are better at inductive reasoning and creative problem solving." Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, and Palfai.
Simply ceasing the use of alcohol or illicit drugs for many people recovering from addiction is not enough to fully recover from the “hopeless state of mind and body” of the afflicted is in. Emotional Sobriety is the positive regulation of our emotions. During the recovery process individuals that are or have been addicted to drugs, alcohol, or both and or those that have relied on their use tend to have significant emotional incapacities at times. Flying off the handle at situations that frustrate them is commonplace. As they gain strength in their recovery they begin to recognize that their emotions have a tendency to control them rather than vice a versa.
"My father used to say to me, 'Whenever you get into a jam, whenever you get into a crisis or an emergency…become the calmest person in the room and you'll be able to figure your way out of it.'"
– Rudolph Giuliani
The recovery process that an individual chooses to implement for their recovery should include the integration of exercises to enhance their emotional sobriety. Failing to address the regulation of our emotions leaves us susceptible to negative consequences and potential relapse....
I created Addictionland.com for many reasons. One reason was to have an outlet to express myself in writing, which I enjoy and need. Writing helps me purge my emotions, become aware of my thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, guides me to what needs doing.
Right now, I am feeling a full range of emotions due to my powerlessness over my mother's chemotherapy gone wrong, ongoing ordeal. I have felt angry, sad, irritable, grateful, hopeless, hopeful, desparate, guilty, and relieved. Today, I feel a combination of tired, sad, strong, healthy, powerless and scared. I am grateful recovery has put me in touch with this range of emotions. When I was active in my addiction, all I felt was frightened, angry, depressed and bewildered.
My mom is having trouble breathing due to her lung cancer, chemotherapy, medications, emotional trauma and COPD. I don't know of many situations worse than that, excluding the loss of the life of a child or something of that nature. I know what it is like to not be able to catch your breath. When I used to use cocaine, I sometimes had full fledged anxiety attacks where my heart would pound and my breathing was rapid and I thought I might die. When I see my mom breathe hard like that, it takes me back to those moments and I feel tremendous pain for her.
This morning, my mom said she felt depressed and wanted to be alone today to sort through her options and thoughts. When I spoke to my dad, he couldn't handle her wanting to be alone. It brought up tremendous waves of pain and fear in him. Feeling safe with me as he should, he let his grief out and I caught it. My dad's inability to cope combined with my mom's coming to terms with her situation left me in some agony myself....
The past ten days have been some of the most difficult days of my life. It started with a call to my father, a board certified physician, to check on my mom after her first dose of hard core chemotherapy. "I didn't want to wake her," he says. "But she needs to be hydrated, Dad. Wake her up."
Several minutes later he calls back. "Can you come over now," he says nearly crying. "I need your help. Mom is non-responsive."
I arrived at the house along with the paramedics. They forced her to wake up and she was unable to speak. She had a look of terror in her eyes as she did all she could to spit out a single word. "What?" she asked in a gurgled, distorted voice. "What? What?"
I knew what she was asking me. What am I doing here? What is going on? What are these people doing in my room in the middle of the night? What happened to me?...
My sense is that there are many ways to get sober. Some people find success by attending inpatient treatment followed by weekly group counseling sessions. Some clients find that a faith-based approach works for them, and others simply see a therapist and use anti-craving medications. If we posit that recovery looks different for everybody it would make sense that self-study could be another way that some people find success in abstaining from alcohol and drugs and growing in their recovery.
If you're looking for another way to grow in your sobriety I invite you to explore Bibliotherapy. I like to define Bibliotherapy as an expressive form of self-study. Methods consist of poetry, reading, writing exercises, and movie therapy. Bibliotherapy is an old concept in library science. The ancient Greeks maintained that literature was emotionally and psychologically important and hung a sign above the library door that read "Healing Place for the Soul". The idea of Bibliotherapy dates back from the early 1930's. The basic concept is that self-study is a healing experience and that this kind of study can resolve complex human problems. The practice was used in both general practice and medical care after the second world war because the soldiers had a lot of time on their hands and felt like reading was helpful. During treatment in psychiatric institutions clients have found that reading has been helpful for their emotional welfare. Today, the modern healthcare and psychiatric community recognize the benefit of Bibliotherapy for a wide range of problems.
As noted from Minddisorders.com: Bibliotherapy is not likely to be helpful with clients who suffer from thought disorders, various kinds of psychoses, limited intellectual and reading ability, various kinds of dyslexia, or resistance to treatment. In addition, some clients may use bibliotherapy as a form self-help treatment rather than seeking professional help. Additional caution should be applied to people who run the risk of misdiagnosing their problem, misdiagnosing mental health issues, or incorrectly applying techniques.
The benefits can be significant for clients who are homebound, lack resources to seek professional help, failed at other kinds of therapy, or people who are self-motivated to try an approach that offers benefit that is complemented by self-study.