To me, the meaning of the word beauty has changed quite a bit since I became sober. In my addiction, "Beauty" was all about physical appearance or material things. But, now, I see the world differently. I see beauty in the relationships I’ve built, connecting with people, & experiencing God's creations. When I was using, I couldn't see that God made this earth so beautiful nor could I ever fully appreciate it; the ocean, the trees, the hills; the mountains. Today, one of my favorite things to do is to look at the amazing sunsets & the stars in the sky and try and take in all of its beauty. Additionally, I appreciate the beauty in my connections with close friends and family, and how beautiful it is to experience forgiveness from these people, even after all of the things I’ve done in my addiction. I am still a work in progress, and at times I still look to outer beauty or material things, but, today, my eyes have been opened to the depth of the meaning of the word beauty and I'm grateful for the new vision that sobriety has given me .
Growing up I had this ideal picture instilled in my mind, that to be happy, to succeed I needed to follow the social “normality”. That having the beautiful wife, the kids, the house, the dog, the good job was how it was supposed to be. For me this was my dream, at least I thought so. I wanted to be the best at everything I did, from a young age I always dreamed of being a professional baseball player. And work hard at that I did, day in and day out, practice, practice, practice. But, I always knew something in me was different, something in me just wasn’t right. I had this void that I just couldn’t fill. No matter how hard I worked how much effort I put into things. I just always felt empty.
As addicts, we have this endless empty feeling that we can’t fill for the life of us. Then we discover that a pill, that drug, that drink makes us whole again. At least we think it does, but in reality, it just keeps us from feeling, keeps us from remembering the trauma we have endured in our past and our present. Keeps us from truly showcasing our gifts and our talents. We stuff these feelings, these emotions, that we hate so much down, hoping and praying they will go away with each substance we ingest. Day-in and day-out we search for that feeling, to feel nothing at all.
For years and years, I layered these feelings with drugs and alcohol. With each new day, I became more hopeless. I began to think of an end, I began to think of a way out. What had I become? What happened to me? I once dreamt of a house and a family, and now I dream of not waking up the next day? That once I wake up I have to go through the pain and the suffering of having to feel these feelings, that were so prominent the day prior.
I knew I needed to do something different, I needed to make a change. I found that last bit of hope left within the hopelessness. I began believing in myself, that maybe I was meant to be something other then this rundown junkie with no goals to achieve. I found courage and strength with each passing day. Though it was not easy, I kept grabbing on to that little bit of hope each day, praying that it will take me to the next.
We all have something that haunts us; we all have our own demons that we have to live with. Whether it is one thing or a multitude of situations. In the end it’s how we learn from it, it’s how we find out how to embrace the strength within ourselves to move forward. Finding the hope and the courage to want to be a better person with each new day is a struggle within itself. From personal experience, I can tell you it is not easy, but it is worth it and so are you. Each and everyone us has a gift, how we go about that is up to our discretion.
I hear a variety of reasons clients make the decision to come to treatment. Perhaps they were strongly encouraged to enter treatment by their employer or a family member. Or, a client will tell me they are filled with shame, guilt, sadness, or anxiety and no longer want to feel the pain. I listen to a young man recall the trauma he experienced as a child, a mother tearfully describe herself as “a bad mom” and a 25 year old woman tell me this is her seventh time in treatment and she cannot picture her life without drugs/alcohol. Despite their reported challenges, I have hope for their recovery.
To me, hope represents the belief in your abilities, even when feeling at a low place in your life. It is not uncommon for an individual struggling in addiction to feel hopeless. The addict may think to themselves, “I’m too far into my addiction”, or “The withdrawal process is going to be too hard”, or “I’ve tried before and failed”, but I have hope in your recovery. The greatest reward I receive providing individual, group, couples and family therapy at SOCD is witnessing the courage, resilience, and change in each person. The journey of recovery can be painful, intimidating and challenging. I witness a person with intense symptoms of anxiety share their thoughts and feelings during group therapy, I feel hopeful. When a client struggling with depression challenges a negative thought, I feel hopeful. If the client chooses to remain in treatment instead of running to what is comfortable, I feel hopeful.
Do not let a lack of hope deter you from receiving the help and support you need to begin your recovery. At SOCDT, we have hope for you.
Courage- To me, courage is a fundamental variable in the formula for growth and progress. The word courage implies that one is facing difficulty, pain, and grief and is brave enough to move forward, one step at a time, in order to have a desirable outcome. This outcome or gain can be something that one has never obtained but having the faith that hard work, dedication and perseverance will prevail. I can think of many times when I had courage in the face of doubt…self-doubt and doubt from others. One of the best recent examples was my decision to enter treatment and to extend my treatment by months. Giving up control and my will was something that frightened me. Committing to further treatment and taking an honest look, internally and externally, was something that frightened me even more. Giving up a lifestyle where I felt comfortable and facing life with all its responsibilities in tow caused lots of grief and pain. To lose everything I have throughout my addiction and finally taking steps not to get everything back, and more, is daunting. Dealing with all the wreckage has caused a number of obstacles and road blocks, but I move forward, one step at a time, with courage and faith that I can and will have my dreams and aspirations come true. In the face of uncertainty, I trudge forward-even through the moments of self-doubt. It hasn’t been perfect-my track record is littered with setbacks, even recently, but I continue to move forward because I know I deserve more and that I’m capable of much, much more
"Word of the Week"- Courage- Socdetox Client's Perspective
Courage, for me, means everything in and through my recovery. Courage meant that I had to pick myself up out of a miserable and empty life, so that I could start to learn how to live a life worth living. Having the courage to completely change my life and pull away from everything that had grown to be normal and comfortable. It has taken a huge amount of strength that I never thought I had. It’s easy to do nothing about my addiction, and it’s really hard to have the courage and strength to start something new and different. But without that courage and strength, I wouldn’t be living a clean life today. Even now, in my daily life, I have to fight for my sobriety with so many temptations in the world. I have to find hope and power within myself to have the courage to say no to that next drug or drink or even to take the next step in my recovery. Without courage, I wouldn’t have the ability to do what I’m doing today, which is learning to keep my head up and smile knowing that I’m growing, even in the face of fear