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When we are struggling with addictions, depression and other mental health issues, one of our greatest challenges can be trying not to give up hope. We feel desperate and hopeless. Our trials feel insurmountable. We feel we’ve damaged our lives, relationships and reputations beyond repair. We feel like we’ll never be able to fix the circumstances in our lives or find happiness. When we are in this place, how do we hold onto hope?

One thing we can do is remind ourselves just how much we’ve already gotten through, how many struggles we’ve already overcome. Chances are we’ve felt hopeless before. This isn’t the first time. What happened when we felt hopeless in the past? Was all hope gone? It might have felt like it was, but we managed to come through it to the other side. Underneath all of the struggle, there was still a light of hope burning. Try to see that light now. You might not have felt it in the past when it was there. You might not feel it now. Try to tell yourself that your inner power is a force that can’t be extinguished. It is a manifestation of your higher power. Visualize it as a light or flame within you. No matter how dark it is, it is still there to provide light, strength, clarity and guidance.

Be comforted that we are individualizations of our higher power. Hope is at the core of who we are. When we are in pain, our instinct is to want to avoid having to feel it, to reject it and resist it. Try to meditate on grace, on acceptance, on allowing. When we let the pain be what it is, strong and painful and overwhelming, without trying to change it or fix it or run from it, we are able to let it wash over us and then recede, like the ocean tides. When we can sit with it with mindfulness, we see firsthand that we are able to get through it. We are able to withstand it. Let that bring you hope.

When you are in the midst of a painful struggle, try to visualize yourself having already moved through it. You might not know how you’re going to do it. You might not have the solutions yet. You might not have the details figured out or the plan mapped out, but see yourself on the other side – happy, calm, at peace. Picture yourself moving through the storm with faith, hope and optimism. Embody these characteristics. Think, feel and be hopeful. When we don’t have much to hold onto, hope can be our saving grace.

Many of us in the Riverside Community are in recovery ourselves. We understand. We’re here to help. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.