Being attuned to something means to be in harmony with it. Being attuned with God is important to me because I need to be on the spiritual path and I need to constantly be checking in with Him in order to make sure I am on the same page. I am also working on being attuned to my family, friends, and sponsor because if I am not attuned with them we might class and I may not understand what the problem is. I don’t want any of them to drag me down and vice versa because in order to be a good friend, father, and husband I need to be attuned to the people I love so that he can help lift them up. I am committed to going down a positive path in my recovery and I believe this will attract other positive people which will help to improve everyone’s understanding of each other.
For our ongoing Word of the Week series here at South Orange County Detox, we will be focusing on the importance of attunement as it relates to relationships in sobriety. It is difficult to speak honestly about the importance of honesty in recovery if there’s one has not become attuned with one’s own inner-truth and voice. While in active addiction, there is no room for our true selves to flourish because they have been necessarily hijacked in order to make room for the hedonistic and destructive goals of our addicted and contaminated ego forces. In that state, there is no vestige of hope, and beyond that even, there is no chance of a harmonious reconciliation with the divine truth within us. In order to attune ourselves with our personal inner truth, the plight of our loved one, and ultimately, with our Higher Power, we must first take a leap of faith, “put the plug in the jug”, and be willing to relinquish the repetitive pattern of self-destruction. Attunement is best utilized when applied to the 3 facets of our interpersonal relationships, relationship to ourselves, and our relationship with God, in order to work in unison and provide clarity during the most hazy of times. Now that we have established the goal, lets talk a little bit about how to achieve it. It is my opinion that there isn’t a technique, per se, on how to attune oneself effectively, however, I believe the best facilitator of this action is through the practice of mindfulness. I have made the mistake for most of my life with respect to my approach to attunement as I have believed that if I worked to “figure out” the mechanics of how myself, or someone else works, I can attune myself to these perceived functions in order to better grasp the plight of the individual in question. While this approach isn’t futile, it certainly is less effective and far less authentic than merely being able to be present with that person and being able to meet them then and there, in whatever state they are in. This act not only personifies compassion, but it transmits a signal of deep respect and understanding for the unique inner-world of the individual. It always requires patience so that we may be led to understand their experiences as opposed to guiding them into the pre-established framework that was forged prior to any encounter. Finally, through prayer, meditation, and right action, we can harvest attunement with our Higher Power in order to help ourselves to further delineate our vision so that we can progress forward with grace and integrity.
Throughout this journey of recovery I have put myself through a lot of unnecessary trials that have made it difficult to live serene and happy on a regular basis. Drugs, alcohol, gangs, lies, etc., all buried me in depression, doubt, danger, and hopelessness. I wanted to end all of this pain, and I thought it was too late for me. I had to make a choice to start living or to start dying, and dying was just too easy. I knew myself before the drugs and I was a good person and I recognized that this is when I was truly living. I wanted that life and in order to get it back I couldn’t let any of these old temptations get in my way. I had to fight though the doubt and pain to achieve happiness and contentment. The only way to push forward is to hold on tightly, maintain my resilience, and never give up.
Resilience is strength from within one self that keeps us going through setbacks and struggles when we feel truly defeated. Resilience is the energy we find within that allows us to regain control and “play the tape through” before acting and making matters worse. Resilience can make itself apparent in a split second even though it evolves over time as we learn to change our destructive patterns. Being able to recognize my negative thoughts and not acting on them helps enable positive thinking, which gives me the hope and faith I need to know that there is a change for the better in my journey of recovery. Resiliency comes to others when there is no other choice but to move forward and not give up. The importance of understanding a potential life or death situation makes all the difference.
Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficult situations arise in life. For the last 6 month I have been working hard on my resiliency. For me, resilience wasn’t something I learned overnight; I’ve learned it by staying sober through uncomfortable emotions. I was so used to distancing myself from emotions and only being able to get through them with some kind of substance. I’ve gone from sleeping on my friend’s floor with no motivation for life, to working on myself in treatment to enrolling in school and creating a vision for my life. There are a lot of highs and lows that go along with the rollercoaster of life but, for the first time, I am learning who I am. I am able to deal with all the things that get in the way of me achieving my goals. I’ve learned to retrain my brain and learn to be patient through the pain; learning how to be comfortable with myself. I feel proud of myself every time that I am able to come out the other side of all the ups and downs of life and stay sober! I wish I had learned these skills at a younger age but the beauty of learning it later on in my life is that I am able to look back at all my experiences and see where I went wrong and how I could have used the skills of resiliency.
As we continue our Word of the Week series here at South Orange County Detox & Treatment, we are going to be highlighting “resilience” as we discuss why the ability to enact this particular attitude is integral to long, and even more importantly, short-term sobriety. One is hard-pressed to imagine a scenario where someone would need to personify the necessary characteristics of resilience more so than during the process of recovery. As anyone who has embarked on the journey of sobriety knows, there are points in time where the pressure becomes seemingly unbearable due to the cacophony of dark forces that echo like desperate screams inside our heads. These are the moments in time where we define our future by choosing to persevere rather than acquiescing to the torturous nihilism that breeds depression and desperation. We can think of resilience as variety of skills that, when brought together, will allow us to face life on life’s terms with the understanding that doing so will lead us down the road less traveled; as Frost stated, “I chose the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference.” Let’s examine exactly what it means to forge a course that is off the beaten path. “Life show up” is an adage I’ve heard before in 12 step meetings and I believe this simple statement is actually trying to indicate to us that we have limited control over a finite amount of facets in the context of life’s entire process. When we face difficulties of all imaginable sorts, physical, emotional, psychological, existential, interpersonal, etc., we collide with a fork in the road where we can try and regain or retain control, or we can, to use another 12 adage, “Let go and Let God.”
To illustrate this further, let’s think of surfing as a metaphor. Anyone who has surfed or even witnessed surfing understands that we are not controlling the waves. Waves are formed independently of any human influence and do not submit to the wishes of those who are lucky enough to enjoy experiencing the power, grace, and sometimes ruthlessness that manifest through their magnificent force. If we can conceptualize the approach to surfing and apply it to how we engage with life we will be able to find much wisdom from this perspective. Wipeouts are inevitable in the water and also outside of it but the one’s resiliency is truly put to the test the moment after we breach the surface of the water back into the clarity of life. Our success in recovery is directly correlated to how quickly and powerfully we rebound from our “wipeouts”. We cannot change, alter, or modify the suffering and adversity that life inevitably brings, but we all have the spiritual weapons within us that allows us to battle and defeat the demons whose only purpose is to destroy our will and contaminate our divinity with despair. If we can maintain faith that our very essence is divinely inspired and protected, we will implement all the traits that constitute our resilience and ultimately, “we will ride life to perfect laughter as it is the only good fight there is.”
Getting clean and sober from alcohol and drug addiction is a hard thing to accomplish on your own, without faith. I used to thInk I could just stick it out and somehow I would get sober on my own; without a higher power, direction or help. After failing over and over again, I decided to try something different and seek direction from South Orange County Detox and Treatment. I was told that in order for me to never be alone and left in the dark, I need to have faith in a Higher Power, whom I choose to call God. I began having faith that someone or something up there was guiding and protecting me every step of the way, no matter good nor bad. Today, I have faith that He points me in the right direction always, no matter the outcome. I’m always learning and growing, but 18 months later, I can say that I am grateful that I sought after God and with his guidance I found sobriety and my true self .
I feel so used to instant gratification that having faith in anything hasn’t been easy for me. By definition faith is “believing in something that you can’t see.” Growing up I defiantly developed trust issues. It takes me some time to trust others and to trust myself. Once I entered recovery and surrendered to the process, I stopped fighting everything and slowly I began to have faith in the people around me who were trying to help me succeed and started to have faith in God. Now that I have 6-months of sobriety, I have learned to have faith in the things I don’t understand in the moment. Little by little I’ve seen things change and what used to make no sense to has started to make sense. I don’t pray religiously but I do pray weekly to my higher power whom I call God. I may not be the best Christian but I do believe that synchronicity is God’s way of speaking to me. Without having faith, I never would have known to look at life like that. My life, without faith left me ungrateful and in-turn was meaningless, unfulfilling and boring. Today, I feel happier and more connected with a faithful out look on life. I feel that anyone who chooses not to have faith doesn’t realize how much life is better having faith in a higher power.
As our Word of the Week series continues, we will be focusing on a word that is paramount in the context of long-term sobriety. We will be discussing the advantages of engaging in an attitude of faith during process. Maintaining a sense of faith, especially during the early stages of sobriety is invaluable, but let’s break down exactly why this is important. A word we have focused on during this series, in the past, has been hope; we cannot expect to forge a path into freedom and autonomy if we cannot begin to foster hope in the initial phases of recovery. It is obvious why hope is a necessity, as it is required in order to motivate us to engage in the right action during the present. If we have no hope in how we can effectively shape our future, we will have no motivation to begin creating new pathways that ought to start us down the course of liberation and freedom from drugs and alcohol. The precursor to hope, however, is faith, and without it we’ve lost before we’ve ever began. We can define faith in a lot of different ways, but for the sake of those of us in recovery, lets think of it as an agreement and understanding within ourselves that acknowledges it is more important to engage in right acts because they are right than to participate in dishonest acts that may serve us in a more immediate manner. As an example, when I was learning to dunk in basketball, rather than lining up day after day trying to work on the “style” of my dunk, I had to place faith in the fact that eventually I would work my way up to dunking if I completed my daily plyometric (jumping) drills. While this process was grueling and painstaking, I engaged in it despite that because I had faith that it would ultimately lead me to my goal. Faith can be applied similarly within recovery. As the program manager at South Orange County Detox and Treatment, I have worked with more than my fair share of clients who have been unable or unwilling to practice faith, especially in early recovery. I see, all too often, where the path leads that is not lit by faith, and it starts early. Within the first month it is relatively easy to spot those who are going to be successful and those who are not based on whether or not they are going to allow themselves to put faith in something greater then themselves, and faith in the guidance of the leadership at South Orange County Detox and Treatment. I understand the oxymoronic nature of putting faith in someone or something that is unknown, but in the arena of addiction, we must place our ego’s to the side and allow those who have experience guide us. The reason putting faith into those who are trustworthy is so crucial is because there can be no lasting faith or hope without a connection to reality. I can have faith and hope that world hunger can and will be solved, however, if I don’t know how to accurately assess this problem, the practice of faith will merely be exercises in impotent self-exaltation.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller
I have struggled my whole life with holding onto myself; trying to balance individuality and togetherness. I make the choice to be negatively influenced by others, going against my true thoughts and feeling. However, through self-awareness, I can stop this from happening again in the future. For me, this takes a lot of patience and practice. Breaking it down for myself, I realize that I edit my reality because of self-doubt. In the past, I never put the time into understanding myself and in-turn I let others make decisions for me. At 6th-months sober, I still struggle with self-doubt. The whole word is brand new again. Nobody has ever showed me the ropes, therefore I am learning as I go. I realize now that most people don’t really know what they’re doing and I’ve been letting others negatively influence me for far too long. My individuality is all mine and is much more valuable to me now that I am sober. Today, I’m consciously awake to connect with others without letting them edit my behaviors.