The Path to a Successful Recovery
“Faith without works is dead.” Originally appearing in James 2:26 of the Christian Bible, this saying has become a cornerstone of recovery. In fact, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous mentions this phrase in Chapter 6, “Into Action,” not once but twice. However, the usefulness of this phrase is not limited to those who subscribe to twelve step beliefs or those who follow a particular religion. Let’s widen the scope by replacing the word, “faith,” with a synonym: “hope.” A hope to stay sober and live a new life of contentment. There are folks walking the path of a successful recovery who don’t go to twelve step meetings or a place of worship. However, no one stays sober without holding to the tenet, “hope without works is dead.” We can educate ourselves about theories and principles of recovery, but if we don’t put them into action, we won’t stay sober.
Finding a Common Ground
In a past blog on guiding principles, we mentioned that once we get sober, we’re free to make of our lives what we will. And this is true: drugs and alcohol are no longer making the decisions for us. However, if we want to stay sober, there are certain principles of recovery we need to imbue our lives with. AA has twelve, one for each step. SMART Recovery has eleven. Other programs have their own lists of varying lengths. Our purpose here isn’t to compare the differences between these groups, but rather to find a common ground. We’re looking to find those overarching principles a successful recovery cannot do without. And more importantly, we’re trying to find ways to make them a part of our lives. Here are a few:
First and foremost, we have to be willing to change. Our old ways clearly weren’t working. If they were, we wouldn’t be in treatment, a sober living house, at a meeting, etc. But none of those places are going to do us any good unless we’re ready to listen and put it into action. That means taking suggestions from our therapists or sponsors. Get used to saying “yes, no problem!”
As simple as this one seems, it’s one of the hardest to put into practice. If we’re out running game and lying to others, it won’t be long until drugs and alcohol find their way back into our lives. We need to be fearless but kind, since honesty without kindness is cruelty. However, we need to start by being honest with ourselves. We need to be real about who we are, what our intentions are, and where we’re headed. This means an open conversation with our therapist, sponsor, or members or our sober support network.
We can look at this from the spiritual perspective of, “we only keep what we have by giving it away.” Or we can go all the way back to the ancient Romans: docendo discimus. It translates to, “By teaching, we learn.” Either way, it’s an absolutely essential principle of recovery.
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating substance use disorders since 2002. And we’ll be here when your loved one decides it’s time for a new way of living. With facilities in sunny Newport Beach, California, Ocean Recovery offers a holistic, evidence-based approach to addiction treatment. This includes individual and group sessions, cognitive and dialectic behavioral therapies, nutritional therapy, yoga, and more. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or eating disorders, please consider giving us a call today. Real courage means asking for help. Ocean Recovery is ready to answer.