Life is challenging on its own, but for those of us in recovery, returning to the world after treatment adds levels of complexity and confusion. How do we do it—handle the responsibilities of life, and the work of recovery? While it is understandably hard to navigate, we must remember that we have the power to maintain our recovery and set the course for a rewarding and engaging life.
By discovering what holds the most meaning for you, you can orient your life around it, and it can provide much-needed purpose and renewed passion. By tracking our maintenance, and where we are staying in tune, speaking up, and seeking out support, we can revolutionize our recovery.
Take time to discover what matters to you.
- What am I passionate about? Who am I passionate about? (family, friends, faith group)
- What work am I passionate about? What gives me meaning in my life?
- How do I want to contribute my gifts, talents, and abilities to the world? Can I do it?
- What do I want my legacy to be? What lessons and teachings do I want to share?
- Do I want to serve, give back, or volunteer? Do I want to try new activities or interests?
If people you know are doing similar work to what you want to be doing, ask them if you can schedule a time to get together to talk about how they did it, and what their process looked like. Many folks are more than happy to share their experience and offer insight and guidance. If you feel insecure, shy, or don’t really want to share passions or activities that bring you joy, it is more than okay to keep it to yourself, and as your hobby.
But if you do want to transform personal interests into something more professional, try not to let any voices or whispers of diminishment discourage you. You never know where something might lead you, and at the very least you will experience an adventure. Give yourself a chance, seek support, and share! If you don’t know what gives you meaning, or what you want your purpose to be, that’s fine. Take time to explore and be open to new things. This is your chance to get to know what could matter to you!
Maintenance: Staying in Tune
Reflect on these questions and see if we have been staying in tune with ourselves.
Have I been checking out with a screen, or overindulging with television, food, sex?
Have I been doing the physical activities that benefit my mind, body, and spirit?
Have I been staying in touch with my friends, peers, family, support network, or other members of my care team? Where have I numbed or disengaged?
- By staying in tune with ourselves, we will be present for our emotions, and can process and release any pain. This healing work will empower our recovery.
- By staying close to those who care about us, our commitments to recovery will be strong.
If we feel loved and supported, we may be less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors.
- By developing long-term connections, we may be more motivated, more present, and more invested in a successful future, since we won’t want to compromise relationships that matter to us.
Look at your words, and what you have been communicating. Ask yourself these questions: When have I stayed silent, when I didn’t want to?
Where have I said things that didn’t represent what I was truly wanting?
Where have I used harsh words to prevent vulnerability, or to protect myself?
- True communication can bring us back to ourselves
- If our words match our actions, we can stay in alignment with what we want
- We can use our words to seek out assistance and guidance. Our relationships with others will be strengthened, and we will feel better about our support system.
Seek out Others
If we look at the groups we are a part of, we can see if we have been avoiding community, and if shame or fear has gotten in the way of us finding people to unite with. Ask yourself these questions:
Where have I said no to opportunities to join a group?
Why am I so afraid of being seen?
Where have I not shown up, when I said I would?
- By staying connected to our communities, we will have increased visibility and will give ourselves opportunities to be loved and appreciated, exactly how we are.
- By working with recovery groups, our recovery will stay on track, and wellbeing will be promoted in our lives. A group holds so much transformative power. You will feel it.
- Community involvement strengthens our responsibility to ourselves and to people we care about. A sense of belonging to a collective can provide so much purpose.
Are you seeking a meaningful life, but your substance use is interfering with your ability to discover and develop your purpose? Are you wanting to find empowering, safe, and sustainable ways to maintain recovery? Contact us at Ashley Addiction Treatment, a residential treatment campus that provides individual, family, and recreational therapy, among many other holistic, comprehensive, and therapeutic supports. Our committed staff is dedicated to your well-being, health, and happiness, and we want you to have the life you envision for yourself. We will be by your side, every step of the way. Our calm and serene campus is located on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, in Northern Maryland. If it’s time for you to gift yourself the opportunity for a new, meaningful life contact us at 800-799-4673.