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When most of us come into recovery—whether it be through medical detox, a treatment center, a 12 Steps program or a combination of these—our previously held sense of ourselves, as well as any dreams we might have had, were likely mired in the dark, degraded, desperate existence we’d been driven to by the disease of addiction, if not shattered altogether.
What we quickly learn, however, is that “the future need not look like the past” – that is, we’re shown, by the countless examples of smiling, productive recovering people around us, we are no longer victims to our obsessive-compulsive disorders. Indeed, we see by the lives they’re living, free from active addiction, that having a positive sense of self-worth and identifying and fulfilling dreams is not just possible, but natural to life. And we’re told we too can start enjoying such, by beginning to choose differently than we’ve done in the past.
In fact, each day, we’re encouraged—by the people in our recovery network, the treatment center staff, our counselor and 12 Steps sponsor—to make new choices, oftentimes 180-degrees different than the ones we may have very recently been making.
The point is, when we start “looking through new glasses” at ourselves, our world and those around us, we not only begin seeing things differently – we also start responding differently, acting differently. And it’s through these changes we make in our attitudes and our behavior that end up bringing us new results, which in time, turn into a new life for us.
Our “old world,” characterized so often by dishonesty, thievery, self-centeredness and hurting ourselves and others, falls away as these new attitudes and actions become established in our daily lives. As we put in place new, healthy perspectives about ourselves and our worth, as well as give our attention to the value of discovering long-dormant dreams we may have once held dear, we’re adding even more goodness and richness to our newly emerging sense of self and the potential for newfound goals and aspirations to come true and bless our lives and the lives of those we love.
And yet while a new life and new dreams call us, we also must continue maintaining a fresh perspective on our recovery. That is, we don’t want our daily recovery routine—that which allowed us to dream and have a new life in the first place—to become stale, boring or tempt us to shortchange it in any way. As we continue our abstinence from alcohol and/or drugs, each day provides us with fresh opportunities to strengthen our understanding of addiction and recovery, as well as deepen our connections with the people in our recovery network, our sponsor, and our Higher Power.
As we put on new glasses and begin creating new
realities for ourselves—replacing the old patterns we had when we were drinking and using uncontrollably—let’s be sure we’re focusing on maintaining new outlooks on ourselves and on our recovery.
If we need reminding that we’re just a drink or a drug away from “giving away” our new lives and dreams, we can go to a recovery meeting and “catch wind” of how easily that could become our “new reality” if we lessen our focus and commitment on maintaining and freshening up our daily recovery routine. We can choose to talk openly about it with our treatment center counselor or therapist; we can bring it up to our sponsor or talk about it with people in our recovery network for whom we hold respect and high regard.
By honestly letting any of these people know “where we’re at,” they can help us rekindle our ability to make progress in strengthening our sense of self-worth, and reconnect with the importance of daily recovery activities to empower us to continue making new choices based on new perspectives, which will lead to new and enriched lives.
The part we have to play in creating this new life is based on having new perspectives and taking new actions. But what those are based on is a solid foundation of recovery going forward, one day at a time.