Three Recovery-Crushing Lies (& the Gifts That Emerge When You Stop Telling Them)

August 24th, 2018 Posted by Addiction Recovery, Life Coaching 0 thoughts on “Three Recovery-Crushing Lies (& the Gifts That Emerge When You Stop Telling Them)”

Recovery is hard. I got clean and sober on October 15th, 2006. The truth is that while I’m 100% happier and healthier than I was when I was drinking and using, recovery still requires effort. Darn!

September is Recovery Month. It’s a time to raise awareness and understanding about the struggles of addiction and the gifts of recovery. This month on LinkedIn, I’ll be sharing stories of recovery and with the goal of inspiring people who still struggle to consider the possibility that life can get better.

Here are three lies I used to believe which threatened my early recovery…as well as some perspective shifts that can keep your recovery on track.

The “All I need to do is stay clean and sober” Lie

Staying clean and sober: that’s a lot! And it’s certainly a critical piece of the pie. But it’s not all there is. Recovery is more than sobriety. It’s about taking responsibility. It’s about doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s about making better choices and improving your life one step at a time. It’s about really taking steps.

For me, the biggest gift (and challenge) of recovery is I get to show up every day with willingness to accept my reality and be open to consider new possibilities and solutions. I get to practice the coping skills I learned from my recovery peers and mentors.

Each day, I can stop thinking about what I don’t want and get laser-focused on what I do want—to feel content with what I have, at ease with myself and others, and fully engaged in whatever I’m doing and whoever I’m with. With this clarity, I make tiny choices throughout the day and take small steps that will move me in that intentional direction. What I’ve noticed is it’s the first step that feels really good: when I’m down in dumps and isolating from friends, I know I should reach out to others. I actually start to feel better when I just pick up the phone and make the call.

Recommended reading: 4 Reasons Taking Action Is Crucial In Achieving Success

The “I’m different and I have a better idea“ Lie

As a coach who supports people who are seeking recovery, I am dedicated to helping them feel empowered and okay about their choices. I believe each of my clients is the expert of their own life and honor every individual’s right to choose their own path.

Regrettably, I watch a lot of folks struggle with recovery because they want to do it their way…by themselves, they want to make up their own rules…by themselves. Indeed, to some people, the path to recovery seems to be laden with a lot of rules and I myself balk against rules. If you tell me to “do that this way,” I usually believe that “another way” is better…and yes, that’s arrogant.

But it’s just like anything new that you learn: you can try to learn it on your own or consider the suggestions of others who have done it before you and have been successful.

At least consider it. I’ve come to learn that these moments lead to two profound questions for recovery…as well as addressing many important considerations for experiencing a content life: What do you risk if you try this? What do you risk if you don’t? I believe that worst of all is not trying anything. Trite as it sounds, I still believe that if you shoot at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.

Recommended reading: Contempt Prior to Investigation

Recovery is complex. It’s the most challenging thing I’ll ever do. and I still take new steps every day. Whether you choose to work with a coach, a sponsor, a therapist, or get involved with a recovery group… please just listen to what others suggest.

There are many people who have taken the recovery journey and have a few good ideas about how it worked best for them. Consider their ideas and try them out before you come up with your own alternatives. It’s a priceless gift to be able to learn from others and a gift to them when you choose to receive it.

The “If I surrender and am humble, I am weak“ Lie

When I first stepped into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was outraged that I was being asked to surrender. In my world, surrender meant that I was giving up, that I would have to accept whatever came my way, that I’d just have to live with it. No way! Surrender meant that I was a loser.

Fortunately, I was able to shift this perspective. I now understand surrender as a choice to stop resisting. It is a choice to stop trying to control everything and everyone around me. Surrender allows me to be humble and humility allows me to just be me with all my imperfections and insecurities. My fighting stance softens, my fists relax and instead I open my heart to my own vulnerability and my arms to the humanness of others.

I remember the first time I hiked Shrine Pass (outside of Vail, CO). The wildflowers were in full bloom and at the top was a 360-degree view of the mountains and valleys blanketed with emerald evergreens and golden aspens. I felt big and small all at the same time…and that’s humility.

Recommended reading: How Humility Will Make You the Greatest Person Ever

So what’s the truth?

I’m currently on a mini vacation, relaxing with dear friends, and contemplating all the gifts that recovery has given to me. I know: that sounds corny. What’s the gift in having to walk away from and leave behind my good friend alcohol?

Well, while I can’t say this every day, life does feel a little easier when I keep taking small steps to be the best version of myself and surrender to the reality that I don’t need to be right all the time…nor will I always be the best version of myself. But I can and do keep taking the steps.

What do you have to lose?

Here’s my gift to you to celebrate your recovery and Recovery Month: For My Wedding,  by Don Henley. To me, it’s not only about a new relationship, but also a new start in life. Here’s my favorite lyrics….and what I wish for everyday in recovery.

To want what I have
To take what I’m given, with grace
For this I pray…

If you’d like share your recovery struggles and solutions you’ve discovered, please contact me—and I look forward to raising awareness with you on LinkedIn this month!

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