Resilience is a psychological skill, it’s actually a life skill. It’s not a trait, it’s a combination of thoughts, behaviors and actions and it’s going to help you to deal with stress and emotional pain. Have you ever wondered why some people are really good at dealing with stress, trauma, crisis? Why some people are better than others at adapting to adversity? The good news is that resilience can be learned. You can learn how to see and think about events in a different way, you can self-regulate your emotions, and then become more resilient.
Accept that change is inevitable. The serenity prayer, ‘God grant me the serenity to accept things that we cannot change’, is not just words. Acceptance is the most difficult step, but it’s the first step. Even though you have goals and expectations, and even if you take the right decisions, things might not turn out well. You might realize that some situations and some people, you cannot control. You can control what you think and you can work with your rigid thinking, with your ‘shoulds’: Life should be fair, people shouldn’t be doing that. Loosen up your black and white, rigid thinking pattern. You can become more flexible and accept reality, so you will have realistic expectations of life.
Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. It’s up to you if you want to see obstacles or challenges, if you see mistakes as failures or learning opportunities and opportunities to grow. The same goes for learning from the past. Look who you have become. You are most likely stronger than you think. Look where you come from and look where you are now. How did you survive? What did you learn from yourself? What did you learn about how to relate with other people? What kept you going and what kept you hopeful? If you choose to use your experience as fuel to move forward, you will be happier and even be able to help people in recovery as well. It is possible.
Whether you’re a religious person, or spiritual, or the logical type, things will get better if you think they will get better. Start with small steps, be thankful for what you have, the people you have around you. Find gratitude for small things in your life. It could be very simple, like you wake up sober and you go to bed sober. Train your brain and your soul to see the positives of life. Appreciate the people that you have around you, family, friends, but also those in your recovery community, like NA, AA, SMART Recovery, Radical Recovery, etc.
The opposite of addiction is connection, so make new connections. Volunteer groups, people with the same hobbies as you. Action is as important as resilience. You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. And yes, stepping out of your comfort zone is scary, but it’s going to give you a feeling of accomplishment and empowerment. You’re going to have a boost of confidence, and that’s going to help you, and that’s going to have a huge impact on your recovery. So start with small steps, realistic expectation. You can start something daily, whether it’s going to the gym, practising your non-volitle communication skills. Start small and keep practicing, because practice will make routine and routine will become automatic habit.
Finally, take care of yourself. Especially in early recovery, self-discovery is going to be a big challenge. You lost yourself in addiction. You might not know who you are any more, you need to find what your needs are now. So be gentle to yourself, identify your emotions, listen to your body. Sometimes it could be with meditation, mindfulness, tapping. It could be easy and simple, like placing your hand on your heart. Connect to yourself. Resilience is about becoming more flexible with your mind, learning to rely on others. Some optimism is necessary, a realistic expectation of life, and get to be more confident with your strengths and your abilities. Remember action is more important than intention and be gentle to yourself.