The smallest act of generosity can have a big impact on the way we view ourselves and the way we view the world around us. We start feeling calmer and becoming kinder to everyone, including ourselves, and we start to feel those benefits right away. By practicing generosity on a daily basis, we develop a giving nature that benefits ourselves and the people around us, which helps us work through the challenges we encounter during the recovery process.
A simple word or two can be enough to make or break someone’s day. We can use words wisely. Without being dishonest, we can be generous in the things we say, and how we say them, by focusing on using kind words when speaking to others. We should get used to giving compliments and saying a heartfelt thank-you now that we no longer have to live the lives of defensiveness and hostility that addiction left us. If we start practicing with the lessons of politeness we were taught as children, we’ll find that our days are filled with opportunities to say something nice.
Attending meetings, time with our families, therapy and our other daily obligations, our “free” time becomes more and more limited. Part of personal growth, however, is making time for others. Even if it’s a half-hour here or an hour or two there, we can show generosity by making some space in our schedule and giving some of it to help others. Charities, other organizations, and our community support meetings all need people who can give of their time.
We can show generosity through even the smallest acts of kindness. Offering to help someone carry heavy bags, inviting a newcomer out to coffee with the people we hang out with in recovery, or shoveling the neighbor’s sidewalk, whatever it is, our generous acts can brighten someone else’s day, at little or no cost to ourselves.
When we’re able, we can commit to performing at least one small act of generosity each day. Whether it’s with our words or deeds, we can give our time and care to someone else. By focusing on being generous, we wind up growing as individuals and becoming happier and healthier.
Happiness, joy, or love can make us feel more vibrant and alive. Anger, frustration, and resentment can leave us with feelings of being overwhelmed and create stumbling blocks to progress in our recovery. This is particularly true when we have extreme feelings that we cannot seem to let go. Feelings of anger, resentment, and shame often led us to use substances in the first place. Our substance abuse was often driven by the desire to control the feelings that we thought would overpower us.These feelings may follow us into our days in early recovery.
The miracle of getting clean & sober does not mean that we are suddenly relieved of all the feelings that lead us to abusing substances. We have gotten clean; we haven’t been transformed into saints. But now that we are in recovery, we cannot run and hide in substances whenever the tide of feelings threatens to overcome us.
In early recovery, it is most important that we develop the coping skills necessary for us to get through another day clean and sober. Why we are angry, fearful, sad, or resentful is important, but healing the things that drive our feelings will be the ongoing work of our recovery. Finding a way to deal with these feelings in the moment is a skill we need to start developing right away.
Useful tools for coping with our feelings are taught to us in addiction treatment. Putting these tools into practice is not usually something that we can do all on our own. The illusion of complete self-sufficiency that lead us deeper and deeper into addiction has no place in our recovery. We must reach out to others and ask for help in working through our feelings and implementing these tools in our day-to-day life.
How do we pray, how do we meditate, how do we take a step back in the moment, how do we gain perspective? These are all questions we need the help of others to answer. Getting help does not mean we are failing in recovery. The truth is that asking for help is proof that we are changing for the better. Asking for help is a significant step forward from the days when we thought we could always ‘handle it’ no matter how much of a wreck our lives became.
One cannot move forward with recovery if he or she can’t also move through feelings and make it to the other side. We can no longer rely on the false sense of relief that substances gave to us. Just like we could not get or stay clean on our own, we aren’t likely to suddenly be able to work through our emotions on our own. By asking for help and accepting the help that is offered we set the groundwork for growth and change that will carry us anywhere we wish to go in our recovery.
Contact Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center
Lives that were cluttered with destruction and chaos, when actively using, are not necessarily quick to sort out. Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center can guide you to make demonstrable changes necessary in order to both embrace and maintain recovery. Before making outside changes, we must first go inward. Memories and feelings may be overwhelming during the detox phase of treatment. Therefore, it may be helpful to visualize reasonable expectations of what sober feelings and behaviors might begin to look like.
Addicts want what they want when they want it. A need for instant gratification defines drug addiction, so the tendency to apply the same idea to one’s recovery wouldn’t be uncommon to an addict. Though the expectation may be speedier outcomes in the process of changing people, places and/or things that addicts associate with their substance abuse, it may take some time. Oceanside Malibu’s Staff can teach you to change behavior patterns in order to maintain your recovery after treatment subsides.
Trying to maintain a pattern of positive thinking, less centered on self and perhaps more focused on what we can do for others. Allowing our feelings to flow through us, without judgement or attachment to any particular emotion that we may use to define or limit ourselves. Feelings are not facts, neither are thoughts, they come and they go. Behaviors may begin to reflect a more sober style of navigating our surroundings. Being honest and truthful in all our affairs may become the new norm, as once perhaps dishonesty or even thievery may have been the way around situations we found ourselves in.
Restlessness, irritability, and discontentedness are the enemies of recovery. When lonely, an addict may fondly or even euphorically begin to reflect upon the past. Romanticizing past drinking or using with willful disregard of thought paid to consequences suffered may eventually lead to acting upon those thoughts. Without making fundamental changes to reinforce a new sober way of life, relapse could be inevitable.
Necessary and useful changes to make in early recovery from addiction include changing the people we used to spend time with including friends who are still in active addiction and/or toxic relationships that may trigger the desire to drink or use. One may also wish to change previously frequented places or establishments where alcohol or drugs are common in order to avoid convenient opportunities to relapse. Sometimes the things one used to surround themselves with including TV programs, movies, music, or other mementos which were closely identified with previously held attitudes or belief systems should be abandoned during early recovery as well, as they may be relapse triggers.
The desire to make all these changes quickly and with the least amount of pain involved may weigh heavy on someone in early recovery. It must be acknowledged however, that all these changes may bring on feelings of loss and there may be some grieving involved. This takes time and it’s important not to become too overwhelmed or begin to feel stagnant with the lack of forward momentum one may feel.
It’s important to pace oneself, letting go of old friends, even loved ones, can be quite difficult and it will take time. It may be sad and frustrating as well, but this is a commitment to change, to moving on, to life itself. Many people relapse during this early period of change, be mindful of old behaviors and thoughts. Begin building new, healthy relationships and surround yourself with others in recovery who are committed to and have make the same positive changes in their lives as well. Be patient. Remember that a person likely seeks treatment for their addictions because they sought change, so it’s important to lovingly embrace that change.
Our culture increasingly has become even more digitized with technology. Our mobile phones have actually now become small portable computers. These tiny devices can quickly locate great restaurants, indicate memorable places to visit, and play our latest hit songs. Not only that, this micro circuitry takes portraits with greater clarity, brilliance, and speed than any camera from years ago.
These cameras are just not in cellular phones. They have exponentially multiplied. Moreover, they are located everywhere. These small inexpensive devices are located on street lights, garages, hallways and elevators taking consistent video of how we behave, what we say, and how we appear.
Never before in history has there been such an availability of constant real-time play back
on what people are really doing. As a result of these changes, the world has become a more transparent and vulnerable place to live. Behaviors, actions, and utterances that were once thought to be more private have the possibility of becoming personalized public nuisances.
For the addict, this new world can become increasingly difficult. Those who have been connoisseurs of denial, rationalization, and minimization are no longer able to hide. In fact, they stick out like a sore thumb. Significant others are more likely to find glaring inconsistencies in alibis from loved ones when posts show up on social media about where one spent their time on Friday night. Also, the entire world can discover charges including DUI’s, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and other mischievous behaviors quickly on the internet.
Occupationally, one’s ability to hide locations of leisure can quickly be deciphered by looking at the location finder on a cellular phone. It is more difficult to deceive. It is more challenging to manipulate. In essence, the substance abuser’s ability to change the reality of stories just plain outright does not work. Although the substance abuser may not like this new reality, there are many opportunities that can be gleaned from our advancing technologized culture.
Because anonymity has markedly eroded, we are now challenged to become more genuine, authentic, and credible. We are forced to make sure that the heart, our head, and behaviors are synchronously aligned. We are pulled to become greater people, with higher values, who strive for more noble causes.