“If the whole universe can be found in our own body and mind, this is where we need to make our inquiries. 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
Looking Within Ourselves for Answers
We’re all rather like the nesting dolls; we’re layered and complex. Granted, in our use, we operated from self-defeating aspects, thoughts, and feelings, and some people think that’s all they’ll find within.
However, if we look, we will also find all the qualities necessary to overcome difficulties. We just have to keep looking for them.
I’m Afraid It’s All Bad Inside Me
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 merely thinking about the situation differently. Too many times, we have focused on our failures, and all the people we have harmed in our addiction.
Or we focus on how we do not have the resources to make situations different.
What Else Will I Find Within?
While assessing and evaluating the aspects of yourself that need to change is an essential aspect of recovery, it is equally important that you review your strengths, talents, resources, ideas, and support network.
You may ask yourself how doing something or changing something can make a difference, and not have an immediate answer, but you have the qualities within yourself that can help you find solutions.
The quality that you possess is humility, asking someone that you respect for help with your problem.
That’s your answer within – your ability to figure out what you need to do next, and that’s as simple and hard as asking for help and guidance.
Applying the Answers
Imagining yourself unstuck, 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 misused them.
For instance, you, like me, used admirable qualities in a self-destructive manner when we wanted to get high. We were:
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.
What if the Answers Seem Odd?
There will be times that solutions and answers 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 your ability to change and experience more success in your life.
To help you realize that your solutions are within you:
- Look at your past successes
- What actions you took
- What was your attitude
- How you felt
- What support did you get for this success
Review Your Successes to Find the Answers
When you test your 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.
Being thorough will give you more insight into your qualities and resources for making long-term recovery successful.
Ask the Questions – Get the Answers
Each of your successes required some change and effort on your part. Now, look at your current situation; you want to experience long-term recovery. What questions can you ask yourself to get direction?
- What are your goals for your long-term recovery?
- Is there an outcome that you would like to have in your recovery?
- Are there feelings, attitudes, and rewards that you anticipate getting by being in recovery?
- Can you overcome your resistance to change?
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.
Find the Answers – Picture the Problem Solved
- How will your life look when you are not drinking and using drugs?
- Could you improve your relationships if you changed?
- How would your financial picture improve?
- What new opportunities could you imagine?
The next step? Backtrack from what you see that the situation can be, to where you are in 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.
From Paper to Practice
Convert your 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.
Author’s note: This is one of the Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery System (TIERS) Personal Discovery Assignments © 2012, Marilyn L. Davis. If interested in any TIERS Personal Discovery Assignments, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with TIERS in the subject line.
Writing, and Recovery Heals the Heart
Are you ready to share your experience, strength, and hope with someone struggling in their addiction or recovery? Then consider a guest post today.