Many of us turn to books, movies, or music to serve as guiding lights in our recovery process. These tools can empower us, affirm, and strengthen our identity, and serve as anchors during difficult times. One such book is The Four-Fold Way, by renowned cultural anthropologist and spiritual leader, Angeles Arrien.
Angeles traveled and studied the world, and found that the most well-rounded, balanced, and content individuals had seemed to embody similar archetypes, and they seemed to live more rewarding and fulfilling lives because of it. These archetypes are the Warrior, Healer, Visionary, and Teacher, and they each correspond to an action and affirmation to be taken in order to fully manifest the archetype.
These archetypes are incredibly powerful and can be tremendously healing for those of us in recovery. We can ask ourselves reflective questions about each archetype and see where we need to strengthen or focus our energy and attention. Let’s look at each one and see how we can utilize the archetype to empower ourselves.
Warrior – Show Up and Choose to Be Present
How are we showing up for ourselves?
Are we staying current and following through on our appointments, recovery meetings, groups?
Or where are we hiding as a result of fear, shame, or guilt? Where and how can we show up more?
To fully embody the Warrior, it also takes more than showing up, it also takes being present.
While we may physically be somewhere, we can also be distracted, checked out, not paying attention, or not fully engaged in the process. Where have we been truly present? Why have we avoided being present?
Choosing to be present directs us to fully engage with the conversations, people, and situations at hand. Choosing to be present encourages us to be courageous, to stand in our warrior even if we are afraid, timid, or uncertain.
Healer – Do What Has Deep Heart and Meaning
What is the nature of our work? What are we doing now?
Are we pursuing, or planning to pursue, work that matters for our hearts, and gives us deep meaning?
If not, how can we work to incorporate service opportunities, positions, and vocations that inspire and excite our spirit, heart, and mind? While it might not be realistic or possible to always do meaningful work, how can we strive towards it? What small changes can be made?
What matters to you? What brings you joy? What are you passionate about? What do you want your legacy to look like? Examine where fear, insecurity, or lack of support has interfered with your ability to pursue work that matters to you. Who can you ask for guidance, help, or mentorship?
Visionary – Tell the Truth Without Blame or Judgment
Are we telling our truth?
Firstly, are we speaking our truth, or have struggles with addiction and mental health caused us to fall silent? How can we find ways to communicate what is in our mind, heart, and spirit?
Can we practice by sharing our truth with a sponsor or ally, or explore writing, singing, and drawing as ways to communicate?
Secondly, when we do speak, are our words coated in blame and judgment? Are we blaming others for our situation in life, or are we judging others because we suffer low self-esteem?
Where can we take greater responsibility, and own our actions and behaviors?
How can we return to “I” language and only speak for ourselves, and about ourselves?
What are our visions for the future?
What do we see for ourselves, and what do we want to make happen?
How can we pursue this path with mindfulness, wellbeing, and sustainable steps?
Teacher – Be Open to the Outcome, Not Attached to the Outcome
Are we overly attached to the outcome?
Do we find ourselves believing that things need to go our way, or else nothing will work out?
Oftentimes, addiction can leave us compromised and with tunnel vision. As a response, we often try to control everything externally because we feel so completely out of control internally.
What actions can be taken to regain control of ourselves and our life? How can we take better care of ourselves, so we can be in a place to open our heart, mind, and spirit to letting situations go in a way different than what we had imagined? If we have been resistant to help or treatment, can we be open to receiving support, even if we truly believed we could quit or stop using on our own? How can we be more flexible?
Being open to the outcome and not attached to the outcome isn’t about not taking action, it is about taking responsible action and then being open to what occurs as a result. It is about being open to new resources, input, and assistance in our healing journey, and holding and loving ourselves through the surprise self-learnings, and unique unfolding during the process.
Are you wanting to show up for your life, but substance use is running interference?
Are you wanting to connect to work that matters, but the struggles of life are getting in the way? Have you been wanting to tell the truth, but patterns of addiction, shame, and guilt have silenced your voice? Are you ready to make a positive change, so you can trust the beautiful unfolding of your life? If so, contact us at Ashley Addiction Treatment, a residential treatment center located on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, in Northern Maryland. Our committed staff are dedicated to your health, healing, and wellbeing, and are here to provide comprehensive, therapeutic, and recreational support to guide your recovery process. You deserve to live a full, embodied, powerful, and peaceful life.
For more information, or to take the next steps, contact us at 800-799-4673.