The treatment and recovery processes cause us to do a great deal of psychological soul-searching. Those of us who are in recovery, no matter how long, know that we’re constantly re-assessing our strength, our weakness and our increasing ability to cope with the world around us. We know how hard it can be in the best of circumstances to try and fit into a world that went on and progressed while were battling substance abuse and getting the help we needed. The question we all must ask ourselves is: “Are we going to let our pasts continue to define us?”
We have an opportunity to build extraordinary new lives in recovery, while preserving and rebuilding the best parts of our old ones. This is considerably more difficult if we look in the mirror and still see that same person that we were when we were actively abusing drugs and alcohol. Despite all of the progress we’ve made and all of the milestones we’ve reached, too many of us still see ourselves as the person that ruined the holiday a few years back; as the person who got sloppy drunk in front of their colleagues; as the person who reached new indignities in the pursuit of drugs. These people are not who we really are, and realizing that is one of the first steps to living a life of confidence, humility and happiness.
When we choose to see ourselves for the people we really are-vibrant, unique, loving and compassionate people that struggled with a serious illness-it helps to put things in perspective and take the weight of self-doubt off of everything that we do. We increase our confidence, we’re better able to help others and our overall health significantly changes for the better. This will help us not only in our recovery, but also in our everyday living, as we strive to build the life we want.
If we continue to take on the role of “screw-up”, “loose cannon” or “out-of-control addict”, we defeat ourselves before we even get out of bed in the morning. Two of the most important tools in recovery are self-love and perspective. If we continue to utilize both of these tools effectively, we have a much better chance at thriving in recovery and going after what we want in life. We are not victims, we’re survivors.