Today we’re talking about intentions versus resolutions. Everyone’s pretty familiar with the concept of New Year’s resolutions. For a lot of people, they can be very helpful; they can help you get in shape, they can help you potentially fall in love, they can help you to pick up an exercise habit for instance.
However, they don’t necessarily set you up for the exact kind of outcomes that you are looking for. In the sobriety world, it’s incredibly important that you are an active participant and a person who sets their intentions for what they want to achieve in their sobriety. That’s an important distinction to make and it’s one that we encourage people to spend some time and effort doing.
Yesterday we talked about gratitude and developing an attitude of gratitude. Here are just a few of the things that people were thankful for from yesterday’s post. Big thanks to everyone who participated by the way!
- My cat
- My mum
- being able to afford to eat
- my music
- 5th New Years Day in a row without a hangover!
- A warm dry place to sleep
- Food to eat
- Clothes to wear
- People i love and who love me
- Good health for me and my family
The reason we bring up yesterday’s post because today we’re talking about this concept of intention. Setting your intentions for what you want your life to be like enables you to build a very clear picture in your mind of what that ends up being for you.
It’s an important distinction between a resolution which is kind of a one-off thing that you achieved or it’s a state that you can get to. An intention is more about setting something into the world that you want to achieve and having the universe come back to you with the exact conditions needed for you to be a success.
You can set intentions in a couple of different ways. The most obvious way that a lot of people are probably familiar with is the concept of visioning. Visioning is an incredibly powerful way to set some intentions for your life; especially in sobriety. If you’re already in sobriety or in recovery and you haven’t set your intentions we would challenge you to examine the type of life you’re leading and whether or not it’s what you envisioned it would be.
Many people have never envisioned what that life will look like! So they end up living a life that they weren’t necessarily interested in living to begin with.
Through the process of intentional living, you can begin to see dynamic changes in your own life manifested in ways you never thought possible. Live Rehab is a perfect example where we’ve set our intentions early on that our life in sobriety was going to be fun and exciting while giving back to the community in various ways.
Things continue to happen for us and we’re now living that life because we set those intentions and the universe has responded by delivering situations like the Steemit community for instance.
Another way that you can set intentions is that you can spend time writing down things that you want to accomplish 3, 5, 10 years down the road.
These can be very specific. In fact, the more specific you can get on these things the more likely they are to come back to you in the exact manner or way you expect them to. So we would definitely encourage you to be extremely detailed in these.
We specifically exclude the first three years because the first three years are often the most difficult to get through in sobriety.
By focusing on the long-term vision and the long-term plan for yourself you end up getting into a situation where you’re much more in tune with what the future has to offer.
While we’re on the second day of January and lots of people around you are trying to keep that New Year’s resolution we want you to work deeper. We want you to work a little harder on the process. You want you to spend some time in those deep thought areas doing the work that really pays off.
So, like always, we like to challenge everybody who is reading to put some of their work into the comments. Let’s start off with this question:
What is something that you want to be doing in three years from now?
Today we want to talk about something really important – having an attitude of gratitude.
Now it might sound a bit funny or even a bit weird but having an attitude of gratitude is a very powerful tool in your addiction recovery process. What do we mean by an attitude of gratitude?
People that we often see in the addiction recovery field, specifically addicts, especially when they first ask for help, often find themselves in a situation where they feel like they don’t have a lot to be grateful for it. They may have really damaged relationships in the past they may have done some really messed up stuff they may have broken laws. There are even situations where they have potentially physically injured other people.
And so it can be difficult for them to get to a place where they have gratitude in their lives and they may not even believe they are worthy of gratitude.
One of the first things that we teach people is that there are lots of things in your life to be grateful for. Cultivating a strong practice of gratitude causes the universe to respond in a way that presents you with more to be grateful for. We learned a long time ago from a great spiritual teacher, Dr Michael Bernard Beckwith, who said essentially that what you focus on expands. For people that are struggling with addiction having a focus on gratitude ensures that you are able to focus on the positive things in life and then more of those positive things can come back to you.
Well, that’s all fine and dandy but coming up with an attitude of gratitude isn’t something that you can just switch on and off. It requires deep, thoughtful, hard work. How do you do this? One of the best ways that we recommend doing this is simply through the use of a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal works pretty easy and should be kept on a bedside table. Either right when you wake up, which is a great time to do it, or right before you go to bed, you just simply take a few moments to write out between five and 10 things that you’re grateful for. And that’s it!
We had a funny interaction just the other day with somebody who said “Five to 10 things? I can’t think of five to 10 things that and I’m grateful for”. To which we responded with:
Do you have fingers? They said yes. There’s one thing.
Do You have toes? They said yes. Now we have two things.
So you can see that there are things to be grateful for even if you can’t think of any even if you can’t think of something in your life big you start with something small.
Start with the small things in life like your ability to breathe for instance; it’s crucial, but it goes under appreciated. So every day as you develop this practice it’s OK to duplicate things. It’s perfectly ok to be grateful for things repeatedly as well – we just suggest that you mix it up a little bit every day so not every day you’re just thankful for your fingers and toes and breathing but you know find little things throughout the day.
Then, try and keep those things in your mind throughout the day. Think of those things whenever you can. And this is just a key pathway to developing these different skills and an attitude of gratitude will undoubtedly lead you into a much better mind spacing and a much better healing space where some of the really deep work can start.
So I ask you to put in the comments today – what are five things that you’re grateful for?
To your recovery,
Be an Expert but Have an Open Approach too
When majoring in counseling, psychology, or social work, colleges and universities teach a wide variety of approaches. During the time, it can seem quite overwhelming and oftentimes students are encouraged to be an expert in one thing. This is something I do agree with however, it is also important for professionals to be well versed in multiple approaches.
Re-Evaluate Rather than Force an Approach
When treating someone who struggles with an addiction, a professional should always try an approach they are good at because if it works, there is no need to explore another approach. But, if that approach isn’t working or it becomes exhausting because the professional and client are not jiving, it’s critical to re-evaluate rather than force a set of ideologies onto to someone who is resistant.
Professionals Need to Check Their Own Feelings
In order to do this, the professional must be able to check their own feelings at the door. Far too often, professionals get offended or stressed about the fact that a certain client isn’t responding to their method of treatment. Instead, professionals need to communicate with their clients constantly and collaborate with other professionals. There must be a respect for this type of practice across the board.
Finding the Perfect Professional is Crucial to Your Success
If you have a professional who is not willing to adjust their style to fit your needs, first, try to communicate what you are feeling. If that doesn’t work then finding another professional is essential to your recovery.
Thinking back to the early days of recovery I remember a certain sense of bewilderment and shock. Now some of that was certainly due to the fact I was no longer a chronic drinker but some of it was due to how the world would treat me now. Over time I’ve come to realise that nobody really talks about these things out loud. In fact, I’ve talked to many addicts who have been through professional rehab facilities that agree with these 7 things. So, without further adieu, here are the 7 things about recovery nobody tells you.
Your body is coming back to you like a foreign object
When you first stop drinking or smoking or snorting whatever it is you are addicted to, some changes occur in your body. Now you might be thinking – duh! Obviously. But what most people don’t realise is that the body you get back has been wrecked in ways you have no way of knowing. Your body won’t fully recover for years to come and, when it does, it’s going to be a different beast altogether.
People hate/admire what they don’t have
I’ve talked about WTF moments of sobriety before but you’ve got to prepare yourself, in advance, for the avalanche of fucked up shit you’re going to have to deal with. People are going to say the weirdest things to you. I won’t go into all of them but BE PREPARED!
Yep. You’re going to have lots more free time that you used to. It’s not all going to come back to you at one time though. For every 3 minutes you spend smoking a cigarette each day multiplied by number by day! That’s the trick though – you have to think about the time as adding up in general.
New things to fill that free time
Find some new things to fill that time. If you were a smoker for instance and took smoke breaks at work, try filling it with something else. Take a quick walk around the block. Fidget with some legos at your desk. You need to be an active participant in this stage. Find a hobby. Quick.
Extra brain power
This one is a bit weird and may not apply to everyone BUT lots of people we talk to find a surge in brain power. Now, some of this comes from not being in a fog or daze from the drugs or alcohol. But to get this affect it’s going to take a while. Some people report 6-12 months before this onset occurs. Be patient.
Your balance is going to get a bit wibbly wobbly for a while. Alcohol affects the equilibrium and it’s not until 3-9 months before it comes back properly. You’re going to see weird things happen over time including potentially being way off balance.
You find yourself
Ok this one was cheesy. But nobody prepares you for the emotional changes you end up experiencing until it settles in for real. Then you get to see, experience and feel the best possible version of yourself.
So, now we ask you, our Live Rehab community, what things have you noticed that nobody warned you about in recovery?