It is incredible how we operate from our core beliefs. Now I am not talking primarily about religious belief. The things we believe are true help us to structure life. It gives us a framework to determine what else we hold to be true. This is a key element in making recovery personal.
Early shaping of our belief system is strongly influenced by family and significant others.
Experiences around childhood and adolescence help us to settle on what we actually believe as adults.
Often we experience people or events that become life changing. It could be a teacher, a minister, a friend or a co-worker. The influence continues to crystallize our belief about the world.
The onset of addiction is often occurring before we have completely formed our belief about how the world works. We may in fact incorporate beliefs about the world that include and even require alcohol or drug use.
Belief is how we organize our world. When a core belief is questioned or altered there is
a shake-up in our perception of the world. It is troubling to say the least, until beliefs are rearranged to incorporate the new truths discovered.
When an addict begins recovery there are many things about their world that change.
Family relationships may be altered; friends may abandon you, work or school all begins to change because alcohol or drug use is no longer the focus.
The new life of recovery incorporates beliefs about how things work without the use of alcohol or drugs. Some beliefs to question in recovery are:
• People will not like me if I do not use
• I cannot function as well if I am totally sober
• Every does it, I will not fit in
• I am just like my dad (mom, etc)
• If I admit my addiction people will not like me
• I can use recreationally
• When I do not use all my problems will be gone
• If I just do not use my emotions will be stable
• I cannot stop
Concerning the last bullet, addicts never have a stopping problem… just a starting problem. Quitting happens quite consistently, starting up again is the REAL problem.
Addicts must learn to not start using again.
It is important to understand what we believe about others. People can influence us toward recovery or toward use. Our belief about people contributes to how much trust we put in them. Often we may trust a person when there is not a shred of evidence they are trustworthy. A belief overpowers the truth we know and we extend trust in error.
Probably the biggest impact of belief in recovery is how you look at yourself. We must have a reasonable relationship with self to support recovery. If we believe we will use again, we likely will use again. If however we believe in our ability to do what is necessary to support recovery, then we will have a real chance to make it happen.
Recovery is personal. It starts with believing in you.
Written by Wendell Montney