“One moment of genuine insight dispels eons of ignorance and confusion” -Lama Surya Das
My original title idea was “How to go from hopeless to dopeless in 30 days or less. I thought that was clever but it’s not the message I want to share. Although the first step is putting down the dope or abstaining from the behavior, the big picture actually has very little to do with being dopeless. There are recovery programs that preach complete abstinence forever and there are others that don’t. It works for me because I find no value in it. I love getting high but it has a different meaning for me today; a meaning which using dope is contrary to. Dope would only inhibit my ability to get high if that makes any sense.
I also don’t want to even remotely suggest that this is some replacement for connecting with a community that will support you as you continue to recover and grow into your awesomeness. This is a must for any form of personal growth whether you call it recovery, personal development, or just life.
When I first entered recovery rooms and they told me it was a life long process, I completely misunderstood the message. I heard “life sentence.”
I heard that I was being exiled to the land of the broken toys to live out my remaining years. I was hearing about a “one day at a time” process where people set the bar for success at 5 years. FIVE YEARS? You can probably imagine how that went over with a guy who couldn’t follow through on anything for more than a few days. This caused me to struggle on the merry go round of relapse and recovery for years.
Getting clean is easy; I’ve done it hundreds of times. Sometimes it would last a whole day, other times weeks, months, and even a year would pass before the stars lined up again. You know, that exact moment when circumstances meet mindset and, in a flash you find yourself spiraling back down into the cold dark abyss. It wasn’t until I discovered the most important piece to transforming my life. Once I did, things began to completely change almost immediately. The desire to use just began to fall away. The battles that used to rage in my head suddenly became a joyous dance as thoughts were allowed to freely come and go without judgement.
I shifted my focus away from my nightmares and toward my dreams.
I know that may sound over-simplified and even corny to some people but it was an AHA moment for me. During all the failed attempts in the past my focus had always been on putting out fires, stopping the bleeding, and pain management. It served me well as a great motivator until the pain went away and I was left with nothing but this miserable dude with a miserable past.
By working with my coach I was able to shift my mind in a couple of sessions and create a new “WHY”
A “why” that included those dreams I used to have as a child, before I was told they were impossible for someone like me. A “why” that required me to move toward something amazing rather than away from something dark and ugly. What you focus on expands so if your focus is on recovering “from” something, you are still focused on that “something”.
Focusing on a negative will not make the negative go away. It will only expand it in your mind.
Our subconscious doesn’t differentiate between something positive or negative. Whether you say “I want to use dope” or I don’t want to use dope”, the subconscious only hears “use dope” and that’s what expands in your world. This creates one of two scenarios; your either using or your fighting it every day. Call me crazy but I don’t want to fight every day. Especially when it’s completely unnecessary.
I hear people in the rooms with years of clean time, sharing about how they know relapse is waiting in the parking lot for them and they have to always be on high alert. Whenever I hear this I think, “what a shitty way to have to live.” I think I’d rather be high than spend the rest of my life in a fox hole I created because I see my life as one big battle.
Recovery has kind of a crappy stigma to it. I see it as a necessary step in the process but the process is more about transformation in the big picture. It’s about creating a master vision for yourself then putting “all eyes forward” as you watch that vision get closer each day. Not constantly looking in the rear-view mirror for the boogy man.
Once I shifted my mindset the transformation process shifted into this big adventure that I look forward to each day. I can track my progress by so much more than another day clean on the calendar. I can see something amazing as it gets closer and closer. This is so much more satisfying than watching something ugly get smaller and smaller.