Silence isn’t a luxury in addiction recovery. Years of drug and alcohol use and abuse teaches you many things, one item of instruction being what happens when you stay quiet about your struggles. Fear of opening up about your mental strife only serves to keep you in bondage. Secrecy is a symptom of your disease; as if your condition knows it will lose power over you if you open up with another person. We are, in fact, as sick as our secrets! As a result, active addiction persists long after one’s self-destructive behaviors become untenable.
All of us, in recovery or not, have fear regarding what others think of us. Even those who ardently protest their lack of concern or care for what other people think about them struggle to open the door for their peers’ opinions. Humans regularly fear the truth, understanding the reasons for trepidation is not easy; we all have our reasons for taciturnity when it comes to discussing what is going on beneath the surface. It is unfortunate, that fear is a pervasive driving force in most people’s lives; because if we don’t talk about our problems how can we expect ever to heal.
Recovering from any form of mental illness requires individuals to throw caution to the wind, mostly. Ironically, the longer one’s active addiction persists, the easier it becomes for a person to do just that, choosing to resist fear and surrender. When a person nears the edge of spiritual annihilation, they are better able to toss aside illusions of control. When an individual realizes they are not in control of their future, they can ask for help. Pleas for help are, in most cases, audible; when there is smoke, yelling fire alerts your peers. Asking for help gets you into treatment, asking for help brings your support network to your side in recovery.
Help Surrounds You
In early recovery, you’ll learn right away the vital importance of your peers, of fellowship. Whether you are working the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or a faith-based modality, there is one glaring similarity; lasting recovery hinges on one’s ability to work with and rely on others for support. Nobody who works a program of recovery is perfect, and no one is ever cured; we’re all works in progress, which means that there will be days that you don’t feel like you can continue doing the next right thing. What you do in those hours of darkness can dictate the future of your program. Will you speak up and talk to your peers in a meeting or one-on-one, or will you be unforthcoming?
Recovery provides allies who can assist in overcoming any problem we are having in life. Naturally, some issues are extra-personal; it’s best to choose with care who you share such things with, probably with someone who you feel most comfortable, i.e., sponsor. You should talk about problems that you are having even if you think they are unworthy of discussing. There is an excellent chance your peers have dealt with a similar situation. Remember, there is little if anything you can say that will scare or shock an addict or alcoholics. Keep in mind the dark places most people in recovery escaped in opting for recovery.
In many cases, individuals struggle or take issue with a component of the program. Failing to see the value of something often leads people to resist doing it, a choice that can prove detrimental to one’s program. If ever you feel an aspect of recovery doesn’t suit you, rather than just opting out, why not share your feelings with the group. There are no wrong questions in recovery and your opinion matters; it’s likely that somebody else in the meeting shares your concern. When you share and ask questions, you are helping other people who may not yet have the strength to address the group.
Giving Up Fear, Embracing Courage
Again, silence isn’t a luxury you can afford in recovery. Silence keeps us from the sunshine of the spirit; it cuts us off from fellowship. Without community, no one would be long for recovery. With that in mind, do you have questions or problems that are affecting your program? If so, raise your hand or stand up at your next meeting; throw your reservations to the wind and seek guidance. Every time you share in a meeting it is an exercise in courage, speaking up makes your program stronger. It makes you more resilient to the slings and arrows of addiction, made manifest by incessant urges and cravings.
If you been thinking about drinking or drugging after abstaining for any length of time, sharing can save your recovery. It can save your life! Furthermore, if you are actively battling an alcohol or substance use disorder, picking up the phone and sharing with us what you are going through is the first step to lasting recovery. Silence is addiction; recovery is communication. At Celebrate Hope we can help you achieve your goals and heal from the insidious disease of addiction. Please contact us today.