Recovery: Your Answers are Within

 

 By: Marilyn L. Davis

“If the whole universe can be found in our own body and mind, this is where we need to make our inquires. We all have the answers within ourselves; we just have not got in touch with them yet. The potential of finding the truth within requires faith in ourselves.” ― Ayya Khema

from addict 2 advocate marilyn l davisLooking Within Ourselves for Answers

We’re all rather like the nesting dolls; we’re layered and complex. But if we look within, we will find all the qualities necessary to overcome adversity, problems, and difficulties. We just have to keep looking for them.   

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However, there will be times that we cannot completely change a situation, but we can change or make it better than it is now; and sometimes that is simply thinking about the situation differently. Too many time, we have focused on how often we have failed in our recovery and life, and all the people we have harmed in our addiction. Too many times, we have focused only on how we do not have the resources to make situations different. 
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When we only focus on the negative and test ourselves from our failures, we might just miss the positive aspects and admirable qualities within.   
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While assessing and evaluating the aspects of yourself that need to change is an important part in your wish for long-term recovery, it is equally important that you review your strengths, talents, resources, ideas, and support network.

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Getting Unstuck

from addict 2 advocate___
You may ask yourself how doing something or changing something can make a difference, and not have an immediate answer, but you have the quality necessary to find the solutions. 
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You possess  the ability to ask someone who does know what to do. That’s your answer within – the humility to ask someone else.  That’s your ability to figure out what you need to do next.
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Imagining and then working towards a better life will use qualities within you to carry out your goals, stay in long-term recovery, and have better outcomes in life.  You do have positive aspects and admirable qualities even if you haven’t used in them your addiction, or used them incorrectly. For instance, you, like me, were probably diligent, determined, single-minded, industrious, and thorough in getting and using drugs.
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Applying the Answers

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In recovery, all of those qualities will help you make positive changes in your life. Sometimes, it’s just about how we apply an aspect of ourselves that makes the difference.  Finding your positive aspects and admirable qualities will help you to view yourself more objectively, and know that you have the answers within.
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With a more fair assessment of yourself, you realize that you are not limited or bound to the past by your negative actions, attitudes, or behaviors. 
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There will be times that solutions may not even seem reasonable – bees are not supposed to fly; ants are not supposed to carry as much weight as they do; and yet, both of these actions happen every day for the bee and the ant.  So, sometimes discarding the reasonable approach is valid for you to maximize on your ability to change and experience more success in your life.
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To help you realize that your solutions are within you:
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  1. Look at your past successes 
  2. What actions you took
  3. What was your attitude?  
  4. How you felt
  5. What support did you get for this success? 
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My Personal Past Successes
Success
Actions
Attitude
Feelings
Support
Graduated from a school
Studied
Willingness to learn
Pride at graduation
Family encouragement
Lost weight
Changed eating habits
“I can do this” attitude
More self-esteem
Walking my dog
Dealt with depression
Talk therapy
Hope
Black cloud lifted
Cooperated with my therapist
Training for job advancement
Enrolled in week-long class
Persistence and perseverance
Relief
Boss – allowed me to miss some work for training
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Review Your Successes for Answers

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When you test your own past successes, be thorough in all the categories.  In other words, if there were multiple actions, attitudes, or supportive people and situations, list them all. 
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Being thorough will give you more insight into your qualities and resources for making long-term recovery successful. 

Find Support for Your Answers

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from addict 2 advocate
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Each of your successes required some change on your part.  Now look at your current situation, making the effort to recover. What is your goal, what is an outcome that you would like to have in your recovery, what feelings, attitudes and rewards can you see that you would get from these recovery changes? Then think about the people in your life who will confirm or urge you to carry out these goals and changes.  It is helpful for some people to start with a list of all the people in their lives who would be supportive, encouraging, but would also hold them accountable for the work required to change and achieve better outcomes.
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For other situations, picture the problem solved.
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How will your life look when you are not drinking and using drugs?  How would your relationships look if you changed?  How would your financial picture improve?
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The next step is to backtrack from what you see that the situation can be, to where you are with the situation now.  What is “in between” are the actions, attitudes, support and feelings that you need to use to go from point A to point B.
 
Imagined or Anticipated Solutions and Life Changes
Imagined Situation
How my life will look
Actions
Attitudes
Feelings
Support
Where I am now
Long term recovery
Less chaos
Not on Probation,
Respect of my family
Meetings,
Inner changes
Not using
Willingness to change
Follow directions
Pride
Security
Less fear
Family
Peers in meetings
Sponsor
Probation
Family is frustrated
Have a job
More financial security
Redo resume
Confident
Scared of rejection
Fear of failure
Borrow an outfit for interviews until I can buy my own
No job
My own place; not just living with others
Stability,
More secure
Save money
Diligence
Responsible
Excited
Friends
Family
Sponsor
At home

 From Paper to Practice

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Convert your own experiences, successes and imagined or anticipated solutions and success to a table format.  You can do this on notebook paper, and start seeing the power of change, resolve, encouragement, and determination within you manifest outside.
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Now, what answers do you have within to change your life, make your circumstances better, and fully enjoy your long-term recovery?
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from addict 2 advocate marilyn l davisAuthor’s note: This is one of the Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery System (TIERS) Personal Discovery Assignments © 2012, Marilyn L. Davis.
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Writing, and Recovery Heals the Heart 

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