Walking into the rooms of recovery is often the first step to what could become a fundamental change in your life. A change that brings hope, a sense of peace and serenity, and even love. Starting this journey, however, is not just about making a decision to refrain daily from the use of drugs and alcohol. Of course not using drugs or alcohol is required to participate in the rooms of recovery, but the mindset of this change in yourself is something more. It is a decision to show up to do the work that is required to participate in having a meaningful life. Really, it is a conscious choice to invest in yourself by building recovery capital to become the person you were meant to be.This series of articles focuses on the tools to build that recovery capital by addressing some of the common struggles, questions, and successes that can present challenges to our mind, body and soul, even while sober. Building recovery capital means just that, building up enough resources, tools, and community inside the rooms of recovery and during the recovery process to rely on when things are difficult - when life asks us who we are. This “recovery capital” will help guide us through the rough times, to grow and adapt to life’s challenges to eventually come out the other end with new meaning and purpose.
This first article is a great starting place for many new to sobriety and the mindset behind the article is focused on the Buddhist philosophy “Chop Wood, Carry Water.”
Getting sober asks a lot of us from the beginning, which is often why is takes hitting rock bottom to build a foundation of growth. It often asks us to change who we know, what we do, and sometimes where we live (at least for a while). These changes are crucial and told to those new in recovery as, “people, places and things” that we used to know/do while using are often triggers to relapse. Choosing not to associate with old drinking buddies, hanging out at the local bar, or driving past the place we frequently used are all encouraged, but simply avoiding these circumstances does not build a outward, positive practice of living a sober life.
Not doing something is a common suggestion to many bad habits, but the real question then becomes “what do we do instead that is better for our recovery capital?” The answer is “Chop wood, Carry water” - or more simply put - get a job and participate in society. Getting a job is great for many reasons. It teaches us accountability, gives us purpose and structure in our daily lives, and more importantly it can provide a sense of accomplishment for efforts made, hard work endured and build our confidence along the way.
Getting a job doesn’t necessarily mean some sort of occupation, but rather a vocation. “Chop wood, Carry water” could mean going back to school to finish your diploma, getting a degree in something of interest, or something as simple as picking up a hobby. The idea is to become engage in life by being active and participating. The goal is to start somewhere and learn how to do these things without drugs or alcohol and hopefully find a sense of peace along the way. In the end, you never really know where your first choice of action will take you, but taking it is what really matters.
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