There are all types of ways of learning in today’s world. There are people who have tons of knowledge and there are some people who have a lot of wisdom. Knowledge is great and all, but if it’s not applied then how good is it really? If you ask me, wisdom is knowledge applied. A lot of times in the past I felt wisdom came from life experience. Today, I see wisdom in a different light. Wisdom can come from lift experience, but also wisdom can be found in learning from other people’s mistakes and experiences. It's said, " A fool learns from his own mistakes, while a wise man learns from others". I still always make mistakes, but I strive to not only learn from my own, but also learn from others on the regular
In recovery you need good wisdom to surround you and help you get out of the hole that you dug yourself into. There are many ways of gaining wisdom. If you are as lucky as me you will land here at South Orange County Detox & Treatment (SOCD) instead of other “treatment” facilities out there. While other places work on addiction, SOCD works on both addiction and behaviors. You could have years without drugs but without working deeper you will still be the same addict just as you were without them. SOCD provides more wisdom and knowledge about addiction through therapists, staff and other recovering alcoholics/addicts. I say legitimate because nowadays it is hard to find legitimacy in recovery. Here they have degrees literally hanging on walls to prove the work they’ve put in to become who they are today. The most wisdom I have attained from SOCD is actually from the program director. She work 24 hours a day literally to make sure everyone has their needs met. She is a miracle worker. Even though she owns this place she still works here. SOCD has been her calling for many years and seeing her work in action helping people has motivated me to go to school to learn more on what I can do to help others. There is nothing but wisdom here. That is why I have been here for 11 months. I keep learning and bettering myself. Additionally, I recommended getting a sponsor that knows what he/she is doing, preferably with a good amount of time.
Wisdom cannot be a factor in my life when I am drinking but when sober, I like to think I have at least a small amount of wisdom. I have always had close friends that have or are old enough to be my father and some old enough to be my grandfather. I learn much from being around older men who have already been through life.
Wisdom, being one of God’s greatest attributes helps me understand how valuable this quality is. When I think of the term “wisdom”, I immediately think of Mahatma Gandhi and wise King Solomon. Gandhi had several of the most well known quotes to date. He was not only wise but very intelligent as well. His wisdom came from his training, observation, patience and love for all mankind. His hope was that all men/women would use Jesus Christ as an example, although being Buddhist and not a Christian, he thoughts outside the box.
Next, wise King Solomon was known as the wisest person on Earth for a long period of time and accomplishing many, many great achievements. Wisdom to me is not just knowledge but the ability to think things through. Never saying or doing anything before considering any consequences, whether good or bad. Always considering other’s views, belief’s and feelings. I do believe that wisdom comes from life’s experiences, age, humility (the willingness to learn from others).
I also believe that in order to achieve wisdom you must seek it out. Wisdom is not for everyone, that’s for sure. The questions, especially for people who are recovering from addiction are:
1. Do I have morals?
2. Do I recognize right from wrong and do I personally listen
& act upon this?
3. Do I consider others as important as myself?
4. Is it my job or place to judge anyone else?
5. Does wisdom have anything to do with selfishness
6. Do I take advantage of others or bad situations?
7. Am I a selfish or a stingy person?
Final thought: “A truly wise individual must have values, integrity and exercise humility (the willingness to learn and be taught). Accepting constructive criticism from our peers and others. A wise person is someone I hope to be some day. This quality takes effort and work.
I feel that wisdom comes with hard time spent on Earth. Good advice that comes from personal experience is my favorite kind of wisdom. Those that have humility in their step and carry a humble attitude are the ones I find to have wisdom that helps me get out of my self-centered ways. Wisdom that is practiced when preached comes out in behaviors that are positive. In recovery I find a lot of wisdom that is preached but not practiced. It is common to find this because we all are human and I fall into blame of this. But when I start to live by the wisdom that is preached I feel the spiritual change that then allows me to further gain my knowledge of wisdom. This cycle of awareness is endless enlightenment.
Wisdom to me is gaining knowledge through personal experiences. I had two choices when I started using drugs. One was to stop and two ways to keep going. Two different paths. I chose to keep using drugs because I liked the way it made me feel. I didn’t know any better or where it would take me so I learned the hard way. I gained a lot of wisdom in the decade of my disease. Feeling my limitations on what are right and wrong, and good and bad. Without the experiences I’ve had in my addiction, I would not have the knowledge and wisdom in sobriety.
In my recovery, learning how to be honest and trust in other people hasn’t been easy. In active addiction I lied and manipulated to get the things I wanted and I didn’t trust anyone because I didn’t trust myself. I was driven by complete selfishness and I had no knowledge of who I was or why I did the things that I did. I was lost without the knowledge of knowing how to take care of myself or how to live life on life’s terms. I found every excuse to ignore the person that I truly was inside because I was afraid of what I might find.
I came to treatment and I was guided by Salina, and in her efforts to help me face myself and work towards my goals, I had more knowledge of who I was, who I am and how I can work to change. The key to being able to grow was the knowledge and wisdom from her own experiences that made it possible for me to grow therapeutically and spiritually.
I also have found myself in the rooms of AA. I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn from women with long-term sobriety and hear the wisdom that they share on what they did to maintain long term sobriety. Their wisdom comes from AA, as well as years of taking suggestions from other women. My spiritual journey has been influenced and continuous because I have remained willing to listen and learn from women who have wisdom into the disease of addiction and the way that the brain works. Without coming to treatment and finding myself into the rooms, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn how to trust and grow through the wisdom of others.
“Two roads diverged in wood and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Frost
Our Word of the Week series continues at South Orange County Detox as we feature “Wisdom” in our ongoing series. I would loosely define wisdom as the combination of knowledge and experience that has facilitated a lasting change in our emotional reactions and behaviors that we choose to, or not to, engage in. As is implied, one cannot merely acquire wisdom through reading books, nor can we achieve this simply through experiencing life. I have known many individuals who are extremely knowledgeable, and others who have lived a life with many trying experiences, however, neither of these, independent of one another, equate to wisdom. The implications of a lack of understanding of wisdom can have many positive, but also negative consequences while on our respective roads to recovery. Early on, I believed that if I read as many psychology books as I could, or listened to various lectures on addiction, I could “learn” my way out of my disease. This failed miserably as I continuously had to learn the hard way that addiction is not a condition that can be outsmarted. I even tried to “experience” my way through my disease, while constantly trying to circumvent the real work required, by experimenting with moderated use, employing self-help-techniques, and any other methodology I could apply in order to avoid forging directly through the road less traveled. This, of course, was also a foolish and naive attempt on my part to try and maintain control over a demon that had no intention of giving up its hold over every ounce of my being. Throughout my experiences of success and relapse in sobriety, I have learned one very important rule: there is no way to slay the demon of addiction without facing it directly. This means coming to terms with my past failures, mistakes, and sins; it means taking personal responsibility for my actions and inaction whilst in my addiction; it means finding a higher order purpose that wasn’t the hedonistic and narcissistic lifestyle of self-exaltation and personal gains; it means admitting that we may not know what we think we know ;and finally, it means addressing the inner conflicts and traumas that burdened me throughout my life. Needless to say, I now view these experiences as battles won in a war that will ultimately continue to be waged throughout my life. In conclusion, wisdom is probably the key characteristic to look for in a sponsor and in the people we choose to surround ourselves with in sobriety. Establishing a network of wise individuals to help support us in recovery can be an invaluable asset as when I have applied the wisdom of those before me I have been able to avoid some pitfalls that I may have otherwise have stumbled on when encountered.
“Science is organized knowledge; wisdom is organized life.” -Kant
Unresolved grief has kept me in a negative place where I haven’t been able to feel the difficult emotions that came along with things in my life that I have lost. Grief can affect recovery by getting in the way of the right process and also distorting the way I look at and feel things. Instead of facing the grief head on, I use drugs to help suppress the process of real emotional healing and so I can avoid feeling the emotions I don’t want to feel. This has got in the way of my emotional recovery and has kept me from growing. After years and years of avoiding grief I am now learning how this unresolved grief affects my everyday life in ways I wasn’t aware of. I am a little scared to experience these emotions but I know I need to if I am ever going to mature emotionally.
I have noticed that I deal with grief in the same way that I deal with most of my problems; In addiction, in drowned my feelings with drugs which stuffs the emotions down and keeps them stored away and hidden so I don’t have to experience them. When I do this though, I need to keep using more and more drugs to keep the pain from coming back up. Sometimes we go through our lives in a daze convincing ourselves that this is how life should feel, and in my life, I did this for years and I escaped everything, even the ability to find joy in things. When I first decided to get clean and sober, the pain from withdrawal didn’t let me focus on any emotional pain. After I got through detox, however, the painful emotions from grief that I had stuffed for all that time started to come up. This is when I had to make a choice to follow through with facing truth or staying in sorrow. SOCD has helped me identify my emotional baggage and also helped me along the way as I worked through these issues. I am forever grateful to SOCD because if they weren’t there for me I might not be here.
A lot of my happiest and saddest memories of grief, loss and pain involved using marijuana. I can recall many “happy” days with people who have passed...Now that I actually sit here reflecting on any time that I have ever felt “happiness”, I realize that I was always high. It could very well be a coincidence, but who knows. I fear, after leaving detox, I may only remember “happiness” as being high. I used drugs more and more when my life felt “happy”. Sometimes, in my pain, when I would feel the most consumed by the loss of my friend, I would feel so helpless that I thought that I had no other option than to smoke away my sadness. I didn’t do this so I could sleep or to be in a vegetative state, but I would do it in order to function; wake up, get dressed, drive to work, and then work a 10-hour day where I only didn’t rupture emotionally because of the help of the weed. I fear that after getting sober I will not trust any other system other than lighting up to relieve my mental pain, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. I pray that one day I will be able to be a responsible version of myself. I have a lot of hope.