An important part of the healing process when recovering from any addiction or mental health issue is learning how to integrate all the different parts of ourselves so that we can heal holistically. We want to reestablish our wholeness and feel complete. We can’t do this when we’re rejecting entire parts of ourselves and refusing to accept who we are. Very often we’re so ashamed of ourselves, of our past mistakes, wrongdoings and mistakes, that we start to hate all the things about ourselves that we associate with our shame. Our instinct is to want to push our shame away and keep it buried under silence and secrecy. When we do this, we stop our healing process from being able to take place. To heal ourselves, we want to incorporate all the parts of ourselves, including the ones we’re not proud of, into the light of our self-love and self-acceptance.
Denial, shame, silence and secrecy are all forms of avoidance. We use our addictions to distract ourselves from the things causing us pain. Whatever we avoid persists, however. Our addictions thrive on our inability to look at things head on and on our unwillingness to face things directly. Everything we resist festers when we refuse to shine the light of our awareness onto it. Our pain grows and worsens when we don’t face it. We have to feel our emotions in order to heal them.
The process of inner integration is taking all of our parts and acknowledging and accepting them. We tend to want to create our identities around the things we’re most proud of, our successes and accomplishments, our positive traits. Inner integration means we allow ourselves to define ourselves with all of our parts rather than choosing which ones are acceptable and which ones are to be rejected. It means we choose to love everything about ourselves, not just the things that are easy and comfortable. Inner integration means we take even the most difficult, painful and uncomfortable things about ourselves – our fears, our wounds, our shame, our insecurities – and we accept them as part of who we are. We choose to love ourselves including those things not despite them.
Here is a meditative exercise you can try. Visualize all your pain and shame as clouds floating within you. Now imagine those clouds drifting into the sunlight and being illuminated from within. Imagine the sun’s rays permeating the clouds and filling them up with light. Mentally and emotionally start affirming to yourself that you can love and accept yourself with all your perceived flaws and limitations. Soon you’ll see that the parts of you that you assumed were weighing you down are actually part of your strength once you learn to integrate them into the wholeness of your being.
Give yourself a chance at a fresh start. You deserve it. Call Riverside Recovery today to find out more information on how we can support you in your recovery: (800) 871-5440.