Part of our recovery work involves setting intentions for ourselves and our sobriety. Our intentions are the goals we have for ourselves, the practices we want to incorporate as regular parts of our routines, the ways we’ll actively work to keep ourselves on track with our recovery. When we set our intentions, we’re often brand new to the recovery process. We’re full of newfound confidence from having recently gotten sober. We’re bursting with pride in ourselves for finally doing what’s best for ourselves, for finally doing the hard work and reaching our goal of sobriety. We’re pleased with our success, and we’re excited and eager for all the progress that we’re confident is still to come. What happens, though, when we’re starting to feel defeated, when our old inner demons return to haunt us? What can we do to confront our internal blocks to recovery, our resistance and our fear? How can we help ourselves stay committed to the intentions we’ve set for ourselves?
One of the most important things we can do to stay steadfast in our commitment to our intentions is address the blocks we have, the symptoms of which we may have already started experiencing. These blocks can present themselves while we’re still in treatment and beginning our intention-setting work, but they might be even more common and present themselves even more clearly when we’re no longer in the safe, supportive, sober environment of our treatment center. Some of our common blocks are procrastination, laziness and an unwillingness to do the hard work. We feel hesitant to commit to ourselves to our sobriety because that commitment involves a great deal of sacrifice and effort. Other blocks are fear that appear in the form of heightened stress levels, anxiety, worry and self-doubt. Where do these blocks come from? Sometimes they come from the fact that we’re exhausted. We’ve been working hard and feel drained and depleted. Sometimes they are the natural fears that come with undergoing huge life changes and transitions. Sometimes they come from the fact that our temptation to engage in our addictions doesn’t disappear just because we’ve reached our goal of sobriety. We still have to contend with addictive urges and impulsiveness. We have to continuously work on building our willpower, inner strength and resilience. We have to stay vigilant with ourselves and take corrective action whenever we feel ourselves faltering.
The blocks we feel to our intention-setting are natural forms of resistance. They are normal and common in recovery. Many of us feel them, and it can take us quite awhile to learn how to deal with them. Experiencing blocks doesn’t mean we will necessarily fail. It doesn’t mean we’re weak or inadequate in any way. Feeling resistance is a part of working through our fears. We don’t have to let our resistance overtake us, control us, define us, or direct our choices and actions. We want to be open to learning what our resistance has to teach us and receiving what it has to offer us, valuable lessons on how to move through our fear without getting too attached to it, without letting its energy get stuck within us. When our fears arise, we can sit with them, let ourselves feel them, and meditate on them. We can ask our fears questions and listen for the answers. What are they trying to tell us? What do they mean? What can we learn from them? What do we need in this moment?
Increasing our mindfulness around our fears and our blocks helps us to cope with them and to move through them more easily, more gracefully, and more organically. We can help ourselves deal with the blocks we have to our intentions by paying more attention to our needs. When we feel resistance to the intentions we’ve set, we might need to reach out to a sponsor or friend. They can help remind us why we’re working so hard in the first place. They can reassure us we’re going to get through these difficult moments. They can validate our feelings and make us feel comforted and supported. They can make us feel less alone. They can encourage us when we’re feeling unmotivated. They can uplift us and remind us of our strength when we’re feeling weak.
When we’re feeling overcome by fear around our intentions, we might need to give ourselves a break – not a break from our sobriety, but a break from the incredible pressure we often put on ourselves. We can affirm that we’re doing well and try to silence all of the harsh criticism we’re feeling, the inner voices telling us we’re not working hard enough or doing well enough. We can uplift ourselves by reminding ourselves of all the positive changes we’ve made thus far, all the progress we’ve made, all the transformation we’ve worked so hard to bring about in our lives. We can try to be as patient with ourselves as possible throughout this difficult process. We can show ourselves unconditional love, acceptance and support.
We can help ourselves deal with the blocks we have to our intentions by getting clear on what we want for ourselves, and all the reasons we want those things. With all the different thoughts and emotions we’re experiencing, we can sometimes forget why we’ve set our intentions in the first place, why we first wanted to start meditating regularly, or why we wanted to start a gratitude practice, why we’ve been committed to attending therapy or going to support group meetings regularly. What are those reasons for you? Maybe it’s your love for your family and friends. Maybe it’s self-love, a renewed commitment to yourself, and newfound faith in yourself. Maybe it’s a need for inner peace after years of turmoil. Whatever your reasons, remind yourself of them often. As you do, you’ll feel your blocks to your intentions start to naturally subside.
Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We understand the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and are here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.