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