When we’re working to recover, one of the most important things we learn is how to withstand the very real temptation we face to fall back into our addictive patterns and start using again. We may have already relapsed, and many of us live with the constant fear that we’ll fail in our sobriety goals. We want to prove to ourselves and our loved ones that we can stay on track, but we can be faced with intense addictive urges and compulsions that threaten to derail our work and ruin the progress we’ve made. Some of the things we learn about overcome temptation in recovery are important life lessons that we can also apply to our mental health issues and the other huge challenges in our daily lives.
One of those important life lessons is to focus on everything we have to lose when we falter on our sobriety. We can focus on everything we’ve gained, all the growth we’ve achieved, all the hard work we’ve done. We don’t want to throw all that away. We don’t want to give up everything we’ve worked so hard to attain. We’ve rebuilt damaged relationships, made amends to loved ones, and redeemed ourselves from some of our worst mistakes and wrongdoings. We’ve started proving ourselves again to the people in our lives. We’ve started proving our own strength, courage and resilience to ourselves. We’ve strengthened our connection with our inner selves. We feel like we’ve found ourselves again, after years of feeling lost and alone. We’ve reentered our families and communities, after going so long isolating ourselves and avoiding interaction at all costs to try to protect ourselves from rejection and judgment. We’ve finally prioritized our own well-being over the destructive force of our addictions, and when we’re in recovery, we know just how much we have to lose. We focus on the big picture, on our long-term goals, rather than on the quick fix of our drugs of choice. We prioritize our health over the instant gratification of getting high. We know that our addictive urges are often fleeting, temporary energetic manifestations of our fears and our wounds. We learn that the more we heal our emotional issues on a deeper level, the less we’ll experience the temptation of those addictive urges. The more connected we feel with our inner selves, the more aligned we are, the stronger and more resilient we’ll feel in our sobriety.
Withstanding temptation has a lot to do with practice. We want to get into the habit of practicing riding out the wave of an addictive urge. With mindfulness, we can practice letting the energy of an urge arise but then naturally dissipate. It’s when we have resistance, by panicking or trying to fight our urges in a reactive way, that we make them stronger. We empower them, and we enable them to have more control over us. We become so overpowered and controlled by them that we feel powerless against them. The key is to sit with the difficult feelings as they come – the discomfort, the restlessness, anxiety, worry and self-doubt, the physical sensations of nervousness and the compulsive neediness we feel – and let them pass by naturally, on their own.
One of the emotional contributors to giving into our temptation is our low self-esteem and how down on ourselves we feel. When we’ve relapsed and given into temptation in the past, we can become even more disappointed in ourselves. We feel ashamed and filled with regret, remorse, guilt and embarrassment. We feel weak. We feel cowardly. It’s important in these moments to remind ourselves that we’re dealing with a formidable illness. It’s not that we’re lacking in willpower or courage, or that we’re bad people, or that we’re not strong enough to quit. It’s that we’re evolving, and learning as we go. We’re growing into the highest, truest versions of ourselves that will eventually be so full of self-love and self-acceptance that our addictive urges have become a thing of the past. We’ll be able to look back at those times as distant memories of a different lifetime, when addiction ran our lives, but we’ve since moved into a new, more empowered part of our lives. We know our worth, we know everything we’ve gained, we know everything we have to lose, and we would never want to jeopardize all of the progress we’ve made for a momentary, passing urge.
Another way we learn to withstand temptation in recovery is to reconnect with our inner selves and the power of our third eye chakra. When we meditate, we align ourselves with our internal guidance system, our intuition. We’re also connecting with our spirit and our higher power, or the universe, our ancestors or angels, however we might choose to perceive them. We learn that excessive energy flow to our chakras can cause imbalances, contributing to worsened depression, mood swings, volatility, substance abuse, codependence and other addictive patterns. We see evidence of our chakra imbalances in our ability to have healthy relationships and to manifest the circumstances we want for ourselves in our lives. By working to clear these emotional blockages, we allow the energy to flow freely, empowering us to be physically and emotionally more aligned with our intuition, and therefore our healing.
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.