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.
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.
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.
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.
I find inspiration through other addicts in recovery. To see other people fighting this battle as well as maintaining sobriety motivates me and inspires me to continue to fight as well. As a kid I always felt different, and the things that inspired me weren’t positive and I always had something selfish or negative to achieve to make myself feel like I belonged. I aspired to be anything other than what everyone else wanted me to be. This led to bad habits and an endless cycle of negativity in my life. It wasn’t until I hit my bottom in active addiction that I had a realization that I needed to do something different. I was lost in the insanity that my drug and alcohol use induced. I had been to meetings and treatment a handful of times before, but I never found real inspiration, hope or spirituality within others or myself. I felt hopeless. I discovered my spirituality when I finally faced my fears and my denial over being an addict. I gained spirituality through God and through other addicts. I finally sat down and listened to what people were saying and suggesting, rather than wallowing in self-pity and acting on things that were purely for selfish gain. Without inspiration through others stories, as well as their commitment to a new life, I would never know what peace and serenity looked like for myself. Today I am able to say that I find inspiration daily, through the small things in life to inspirational people who have experienced the same things I have. I have a spiritual connection and hope for myself and other addicts now that I have opened my eyes to the positive influences in life. I no longer have to live in fear on a daily basis.
Our Word of the Week series continues here at South Orange County Detox as we highlight “influence” as our featured word. Influence is an interesting word as it doesn’t necessarily denote a positive facilitator of change, but merely any tool by which the agent has been modified for the good or bad, one way or another. We’re going to work backwards today in our attempt to unravel how to best integrate positive influences into our lives while keeping negative ones at bay. We also want to take this examination one step further in order to stay mindful of how the negative influences throughout our impacted us in order to avoid these pitfalls in the future. As most of us are aware of by now, our initial and most impactful influences, positive and negative, come from our primary caretakers, or in most cases, our parents. While it would be comforting to believe that the parents we love and adore were only the harbingers of positive change, which can also be true, the devil lies in the details in that they have also likely helped to lay the foundation of dysfunction and even trauma as well. I won’t go into the advantages of psycho-therapeutic work for brevity’s sake, but I do want to point out that while we are not at fault for our parents shortcomings vis a vis their parenting, we are responsible for how much care and energy we expend on the process of unpacking these emotionally-charged issues and dynamics so that we may live as liberated as we can be from the skeletons residing in our closets. Now that we’ve touched on the more difficult, time-consuming, and longitudinal-type work, let’s look at what how we can address issues of influence within the present. First and foremost, let’s stop running on the assumption that sobriety is the only litmus test that matters with respect to how we seek positive people as influences within the recovery culture. You wouldn’t evaluate a “Normie” who had overcome obesity as a generally “good person” simply by virtue of their weight loss so let’s not make the same mistake when it comes to addicts in recovery. Is it an incredible accomplishment? Yes; does it give an accurate depiction of the whole of the individual? Absolutely not. We need to be incorporating a holistic approach even when looking for new friends, sponsors, or sober friends in general. The old saying goes, “You’re can only be as successful as your least successful friend.” While this is probably overstated, the point remains that we are deeply influenced by our friend and peer groups and therefore we ought to be choosing people that will exemplify positivity, honesty, integrity, compassion, and loyalty. This all sounds pretty simple, and it certainly can be. One last tip I’d like to suggest while discussing influence is this: think back on someone who has influenced you in a negative way and try to get to the bottom of why you were attracted to that person. Did their confidence make you feel secure as it did with your father? Were they caring and compassionate as your mother was? Were they fiercely loyal as your big brother was growing up? What matters here isn’t how you reacted during this period where you allowed for negative influence to breach your consciousness, but rather to understand why you were attracted to this dynamic in the first place. Now that we have come back full circle, the realizations you have gathered may be a good place to start within the context of long-term work with a therapist, mentor, or sponsor. Finally, the least obvious yet potentially most impactful influence on any individual can be found in their relationship with a Higher Power. While necessary components of any influential system, humans can be fickle, compromising, and fallible, however, God always remains a constant source of love and connectedness within a world of ever-changing chaos and discord. Nikola Tesla stated this point beautifully when he said, “Every living being is an engine geared to the wheel work of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.” When we learn to embrace the divinity of the cosmos we can begin the work of sharing the sustenance of divine influence to those who are spiritually malnourished.
When I think of the word leadership I think of guidance, direction, supervision but not in the sense of control. In the sense of someone who is doing such things for the greater good or because that person in the position of leader wants the best for you. I always wanted to be a leader growing up, I thought I could boss others around and tell them what to do when I wanted them to do it. Oh how my mindset has changed, leadership means quite the opposite to me now, though I feel like some people in leadership roles specifically currently in our world may still feel that is what it means to be a leader. I find a lot of the time it’s those quiet leaders that have the greatest impact, those that lead by example, with integrity. Those that make you want to do something because you see it working in their life. When I was using I did lots of things to make me feel like I had power or control or effect on others. When in all reality I was completely powerless and had lost all control and absolutely all choice in matters, and specifically my life. Now that I have gotten clean and sober, some of the leaders who stand out to me are in fact, those quiet leaders. Those people who don’t have to say much because their actions speak so much louder than their words. When I got to South Orange County Detox & Treatment (SOCD), I learned a lot of things, one thing of a lot importance was reconnecting with God, of my own understanding, who has become my real leader. My Higher Power is “The Real Persuader” and power in my life. I feel that he leads me right to those people in leadership roles that can help me grow and blossom into the person in sobriety I was always meant to be. Most importantly He is starting to show me ways that I can come in to that role of a leader and how I can do good with it instead of evil, as I used to.