Today I would like to share with you an article written by Luke Pool.
Luke Pool is a grateful member of the Recovery community. He has found his purpose in life by helping those who suffer from the diseases of addiction. He uses blogging and social media to raise awareness about this epidemic, affecting every part of this country. Now working for Stodzy internet marketing, he is able to pursue his passion by informing as many people as possible about addiction. Originally from Austin, Texas he now lives in South Florida.
Thank you Luke for your contribution as Guest Blogger on From Struggle To Strength.
Disclaimer: Links on From Struggle To Strength to third-party sites do not constitute an endorsement by From Struggle To Strength of the parties or their products and services.
Living ‘in the moment’ while in recovery
When a person is in the throes of active addiction, alcohol or drugs become the focal point of his or her life. Whether substance abuse has become an emotional crutch or it’s merely to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay, someone who’s suffering from addiction is always fixated on the next fix. And it’s not just one’s physical health that suffers from an addiction; alcohol and drug addiction often cost people their careers, relationships, financial stability, many other opportunities and sometimes even their lives.
Recovery is often portrayed as the solution to addiction, but that’s not exactly how it works. While addiction treatment programs allow individuals to overcome their alcohol and drug habits, recovery doesn’t right the wrongs they may have committed, repair relationships they’ve damaged, or give them back their careers. In the early stages of recovery, many individuals must come to the realization that getting their lives back on track is a process, and it’s a process that can, at times, feel overwhelming. However, it’s important that individuals in recovery are still living in the here-and-now, able to take full advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of them.
Contending with the past
Addiction often results in a profound personal transformation. After becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs, a person often dresses differently, has a different social circle, and behaves much different than he or she ever had. Moreover, being dependent on the constant intake of chemical substances results in an ever-present desperation, which is the cause of many of the uncharacteristic behaviors that people suffering from addiction often exhibit. Consequently, many people make extremely poor choices while in the throes of active addiction. Some of these bad choices have relatively mild or short-term repercussions, but there are many cases where the repercussions of poor choices made in the name of addiction have long-term or even lifelong repercussions, such as when addicts commit crimes to support their addictions.
Having made a number of mistakes while in active addiction, many individuals in recovery find themselves distracted by guilt and shame. In fact, the emotional consequences of poor behaviors can made daily functioning quite difficult, particularly when a person dwells on those behaviors. The result is that the individual feels guilty much of the time, preventing him or her from realizing each day’s full potential.
Without question, dwelling on the past is one of the main ways that people in recovery sabotage themselves. Although it can be difficult to forgive oneself for heinous acts, the reality is that nobody can change the past; further, for all the negative outcomes that were the immediate result of these poor choices, dwelling on them will only extend their negative influence. Instead, an individual should focus on finding ways to rectify those past mistakes, whether that makes making amends to someone he or she harmed or mistreated, or addressing some other type of situation. By finding a way to make past mistakes right, a person will feel much less guilt and shame, which means that past mistakes will be far less distracting, allowing a person to live in the moment and fully enjoy the fruits of his or her recovery efforts.
The future is full of possibility
After completing their addiction treatment programs, many individuals find themselves confronted by a mysterious future full of unknowns. Of course, nobody can predict the future, but in the most basic sense, addiction recovery provides a clean slate; having returned to a state of chemical independence, a person’s life no longer revolves around alcohol or drug use, meaning that he or she feels compelled to figure out what to do with his or her life. With so much of the future undetermined, there’s this looming feeling that a person must create some sort of plan or blueprint for the future. To an extent, it can feel like trying to play catch-up to all those people who have been building their futures for many years.
Even for someone who has been meticulously planning for the future for a long time, the unpredictability of the future can be distracting and scary, but it’s doubly uncomfortable for those in recovery. As such, a future full of unknowns can be extremely distracting to those in recovery, causing them to be more preoccupied about what tomorrow may bring and preventing them from enjoying what’s right in front of them.
On the other hand, living in the moment isn’t about disregarding the past and the future. When it comes down to it, living in the moment is about learning from the past and making good choices that will serve as stepping stones toward a positive, prosperous future. Being too concerned about the past or future to fully enjoy the here-and-now is a major disservice; as well, maximizing the present will maximize a person’s chances of having a fruitful future.