The Principles of Recovery
A few weeks ago, we posted a blog on the principles of recovery. To recap quickly, we mentioned that once we get free from drugs and alcohol, we can make of our lives whatever we choose. However, we said, if we want to stay free from these harmful substances, there are certain principles we must imbue our lives with. We talked about willingness, honesty, and service as examples. The blog got such a response, particularly from those of you who practice the twelve steps, that we thought we’d dig a little deeper, now and in the coming weeks.
Speaking With Honesty
When those of us in recovery were first getting sober, many of us were told to try twelve-step meetings: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc. And many of us, myself included, responded to these suggestions with a lot of resistance. We may have been skeptical of the “one size fits all” approach that these groups seem to take. We also might have been put off by the religion-specific overtones of the group. Finally, we may just have had plain, old personal problems with some of the members of these groups. Speaking with honesty – the theme of this week – these are valid complaints and not at all uncommon.
Uncovering the Real Problem
I expressed some of these thoughts to a therapist when I was in early recovery. They responded, “Fair enough…but are you ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater? How bad do you want to be sober anyway?” If I was ready to write the first question off as an AA cliché, the second one definitely stopped me in my tracks. Was I willing to let the one or two holier-than-thou loudmouths at what would become my home group keep me from sobriety? Obviously, my answer was no. So what was the real problem? Where was my resistance to the twelve steps really coming from?
Honesty and the Addict-Mind
This therapist was subtly and deftly leading me to the first principle of the twelve steps: honesty. I wasn’t being honest with myself. My addict-mind was desperately trying to find any reason it could to keep things the same. We might not like the wording of the first step – it can still burn a little to think I’m powerless over anything – but if we can’t be honest with ourselves, then we’re going to keep repeating the same problems until we can.
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Honesty with oneself can be a pretty tall order in early sobriety. Years of drugs and alcohol can destroy our self-image and make it easy to slide back into old habits. An outside, professional perspective and a safe environment can make a world of difference. Ocean Recovery in Newport Beach, California 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.