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Living with addiction and mental health issues, we very commonly lose faith in ourselves and in our ability to recover. We don’t see all of the possibilities for the future. We don’t feel positive anticipation, hopefulness, eagerness or optimism. When we’ve given up on ourselves, we can feel so hopeless and desperate that we don’t see any meaning in life, and we no longer want to take responsibility for ourselves or our well-being. We don’t want to face the reality of our addictions. We hide the truth from ourselves and others. We suppress our difficult emotions, and denial, avoidance and secrecy become our unhealthy coping mechanisms. We don’t take our recovery seriously, and we refuse to take responsibility for our past mistakes and wrongdoings, or for our future lives. We’re not yet ready to make the sacrifices necessary for healing. We don’t want to give up the lifestyles that we’ve grown accustomed to. We want to continue with our destructive patterns because we’re not ready to take responsibility for changing them. We don’t want to do the work we know we need to do to get better.

Our refusal to take responsibility for our recovery often comes from fear. We’re afraid of all the challenging transitions and changes that will come with sobriety. We fear the sacrifices we’ll have to make and all the work we’ll have to do. We fear the difficult emotions that come with tackling our dependence and working to be healthy without the substances and behaviors we’ve been using to self-medicate.

One of the ways we can help ourselves start to take more responsibility for our recovery is to reach out for support and enlist the help of people who can be part of our healing team. We can find responsibility overwhelming because we think we have to do it all on our own. Recovery, however, is something that benefits tremendously from the communities and fellowship we can create for ourselves. We often are prideful and let ourselves drown alone in our fear, but we can muster the courage to reach out for help from our family and friends, from our sponsors, recovery coaches, therapists and support groups.

We can help ourselves take responsibility by changing our perspective on it. Rather than associating responsibility with burden and obligation, we can start to see it as being a necessary part of the freedom that comes with sobriety. We can mentally associate it with light and possibility, rather than with heaviness and dread. We can choose to be more hopeful and optimistic in our outlook. We can affirm to ourselves how much more fulfilling and purpose-driven our lives will be when we start taking responsibility for our well-being and our healing.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.