When we feel connected, we thrive. Connections need to nurture us. They need to support our spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical growth. When they don’t, they need to be scrutinized and removed from our lives. This can be a difficult process.
What happens when we become addicted to substances, to food, or actions that inhibit our growth and prevent us from thriving? Denial can blind us to the reality of the situation. We need others to help us see what’s truly going on. We need the honest feedback of others, including ‘tough love’ and support in order to move out of denial and into acceptance that ‘yes, this thing is not good for me. I need to make a change’.
There are many 12-Step programs and treatment options available for various addictions. Admitting and accepting on a deep level that one is powerlessness, and moving toward the personal empowerment of saying ‘no’ to active addiction – these are the first steps of the recovery process. During this time it is quite normal to experience feelings of sadness when giving up one’s drug of choice. Yes, grief is a very normal part of the recovery journey.
It can be helpful to write a ‘goodbye’ letter to one’s drug of choice, recounting the good, the bad and the ugly of one’s using history. What may have started out as an innocent curiosity or way of socializing or coping with life’s challenges has, at some point, become destructive and needs to be let go of, and yet this doesn’t negate the sadness of saying goodbye to an ‘old friend’.
It is important to conclude this letter with what you are hopeful about, what you are looking forward to, by moving on from addiction to a life of empowerment. Then, find a safe person to share this letter with, as a way of validating your experience.
I’ll be sharing other tools in the coming weeks. Until then, I’d love to hear from you:
- What are you powerless over?
- What addiction(s), if any, do you struggle with?
- If you’re in recovery from an addiction, do you recall going through a grieving process, and if so, how did you move through it?
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Until next time, be gentle with yourself, smile and Shine Your Light!