It is really important to get to the point where you realize recovery is not just about how we feel at a given moment in time. In fact, there are many times in recovery we do not FEEL like doing what is in our own best interest. It is during these difficult times we MUST rely on the principles of recovery rather than our feelings.
Principles of recovery include but are not limited to:
- Recovery is personal but not unique
- Recovery does not happen in isolation
- It is important to connect with peers who are successful in recovery
- Maintaining accountability with someone who will be truthful to you without
- Take time to be quiet and reflective.
- Be honest with yourself
- Get quiet, reflect on where you have been, what makes your life better.
- Never give up on yourself
When feelings overwhelm our thinking we are motivated to do things we may later
regret. The immediate pleasure of satisfying the emotions results in the pain of failure
Feelings come from our thinking. If the content of our thinking does not adhere to principles of recovery we will likely return to use. Counseling and therapy can be useful in helping an individual develop ways of rethinking about alcohol or drugs. It is very helpful to learn how to change the way we think about things. This skill alone can make the difference in how successful you are in recovery.
Principles of recovery are not always easy to remember when you are overwhelmed by the obsessive thoughts of addiction. It is the consistent use of recovery principles that makes them readily accessible when we need them the most.
It is easy to make decisions based on feelings of the moment. These tend to be unreliable and temporary. Fleeting into the next set of feelings based on circumstance. Acting on feelings will create chaos in your life but becoming principled in your decisions may lead to a much more stable future.
One of the reasons people attend 12 step meetings even when they are doing quite well is
to keep basic principles in their minds and integrated into their life. It is practicing, developing a sense of how to use recovery principles during times of emotional upset that prepares us to maintain recovery. We work PAST the feelings influencing us to stay in our addiction and take action to step forward whether we like it or not into a healthy decision.
When we are in a heightened emotional state is easy to believe we will feel this way forever. We may feel very familiar feelings. I call them ‘old friends’ who come frequently when we a struggling. There is good news for these circumstances Most feelings will pass in time, especially if you intentionally put your mind onto thoughts of sobriety and recovery.
The recommendation is to begin the process of putting recovery principles in your mind and work to practice them day after day. If you forget one, start again and practice them until you refer to them without second thoughts. Recovery principles will make a difference in your life as you use them
Written by Wendell Montney