Addiction recovery involves some of the most challenging work we’ll ever do in our lives. We’re taking on the tremendous task of confronting our deeply rooted pain, facing our fears, and transforming lifelong patterns. We’re facing ourselves, finally, without distracting ourselves or self-medicating. We’re allowing ourselves to feel our pain without filters, without anything to numb it. We’re dealing with things head on rather than avoiding, escaping or running from it. How can we prepare ourselves for the recovery process? There are some key things we can do to help ourselves.
One of the best ways we can help ourselves prepare for our recovery journey is by enlisting the support of other people who understand recovery firsthand. Treatment centers and support groups enable us to meet people who have experienced addiction and recovery in their own lives. We can form communities for ourselves, communities that help us feel less isolated, lost and alone. Addiction recovery is overwhelming. We can find ourselves feeling depressed and scared. We need all the support we can get. Very often the people in our lives who want to support us are not addicts themselves. They couldn’t possibly understand what we’re going through or how we’re feeling. When we are surrounded by others who are also in recovery, we find people who can relate to us, who can truly understand and empathize. We empower ourselves and give ourselves an invaluable source of support, guidance, inspiration and motivation. We can find ourselves being encouraged and uplifted by them and by their stories of perseverance.
Starting therapy as we’re undertaking our recovery is a wonderful idea. Therapists can help us to uncover some of the causes of our pain and examine our wounds, our fears and our limiting beliefs. They can provide the expertise, experience and objectivity that are so helpful in making sense of things for ourselves. They can help us examine our patterns and recurring life cycles so that we can learn from them and work to undo them, rather than continuing to repeat them out of a lack of awareness and mindfulness. Therapists can help us to process and reverse the difficult thought patterns and emotional patterns we’ve been unknowingly perpetuating. They can help us to develop healthier coping skills and to shed the toxic, self-destructive ones we’ve become dependent upon.
Emotionally we can prepare ourselves for recovery by building up our self-love and compassion. We can only heal if we’re on our own side, if we’re our own allies rather than being our own worst enemies, as many of us have been for much of our lives. When we truly believe in ourselves, we empower ourselves to be able to transform ourselves from the inside out.