I have found that one of the most difficult, yet necessary, tasks of recovery is moving from passivity to passion. In my past article about Moving from Complacency to Commitment, I described the process I’ve watched unfold for many addicts in recovery (including myself):
“Time and time again, I have watched the sprint of early recovery dissipate into a stroll of complacency. Initial passion, often fueled by crisis or catastrophe, pushes people powerfully forward. Yet, unless this momentum is maintained, addicts will gradually revert to a risky state of inactivity. Patrick Carnes, PhD, leading expert in the field of sexual addiction recovery, points out this pattern of heightened acting out behavior in the SECOND 6 months of recovery. Whether it is early on or years down the road, it is clear that regardless of the intensity of early recovery commitments, anyone can wane in their resolve. This half-hearted, mindless, and dangerous state that precedes relapse is best described as “pre-lapse”.” (See video below for a power picture of the dangers of complacency)
If you find yourself in a state of “pre-lapse”, feeling stuck in passivity in your recovery or your goals in general, here are 6 suggestions for igniting the passion to pursue worthy goals (for additional suggestions click here):
- Write out your reasons. Take a few minutes to write down 10 negative consequences that will result from a PASSIVE attitude in your recovery. Then, write down 10 positive benefits that will result from a PASSIONATE attitude in your recovery. Reading these lists (and adding to them) daily can powerfully propel you out of denial. You have significant reasons for pursuing your recovery passionately and there is power in remembering those often.
2. Imagine a better future. Take a few minutes to connect with yourself in the future. Visualize yourself in 10 years, imagining a future created by a PASSIONATE recovery (effects on relationships, view of self, and addiction). Practicing this tool daily can lead you closer to the future you hope to create.
3. Clarify your purpose. Create a recovery focused mission statement.
Write, “in my recovery journey I am committed to…and create your own paragraph based on your values. For example:
“…Learning how to connect with others. I will pursue my recovery with passion and fight against passivity. I will not allow addiction to rob me of my dreams and unique contributions to the world. I will remain accountable and honest. With my Higher Power’s help, I will lean into the discomfort of change, maintaining healthy habits, and persevere through the pain, believing that the life of recovery will be deeply meaningful and rewarding.”
Print out your statement and put it somewhere you will see it often. As you experience increased freedom, you can begin to see the bigger picture….that you are healed for a purpose.
4. Recruit accountability. Whether you use a site like “CommitTo3” or meet regularly face-to-face, there is power in intentional community, encouragement, and connection.
5. Inspire yourself, often. Find quotes, affirmations, and messages that inspire you (click here for a great Inspiration Community). Consider rehearsing the following messages (or ones that motivate you):
“Today, I take responsibility for my mindset, connection/disconnection from others, my self-care, and how I manage my triggers”
“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” –Richard Marcinko
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman, Coraline
6. Commit. Ask yourself this: What is the next level of my recovery?
Getting an accountability partner?
Starting an exercise routine?
Installing Covenant Eyes (cutting off easy access)?
Achieving your first year of sobriety?
I encourage you to write down 3 things you will commit to in the New Year. Using the tools provided here, it is my hope that you will experience a new level of growth as you pursue greater goals.
Wishing you all a committed and connected New Year!
-Written by Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!