Tag - addiction recovery

1
The Scarlet Letter of Addiction
2
The Bigger Picture

The Scarlet Letter of Addiction

By: Megan Dorsey, Pathway Guide, North Central Vermont Recovery Center

People in recovery from substance use face many challenges and have to make many changes in their lives to have success in recovery. For starters: Everything.

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand (or more) times: “No one chooses a life of addiction.” Some are born into it through a gene pool, not of their choosing. Some have been prescribed medication to take away pain after a serious injury. Some simply had a bad day and took something or had a drink to ease the pain, and their introduction to addiction spiraled out of control from that point.

Unfortunately, this group of people is still looked down upon by many. They are called a burden on society, a menace, thieves, and worthless. Though their behavior while under the influence of a particular mind-altering substance may have been less than savory, that was the disease within the human working, not the human themselves.

Working in the world of recovery, I get to see the human instead of the disease. The people I work with are strong, determined, honest, and compassionate towards others. They have had to uproot themselves from everything, everyone, and every place they knew as home, and start over completely.  That takes serious grit. While sometimes they struggle, and sometimes they briefly slip back into old ways, they keep trying. And all along the way, while picking themselves back up, they are lifting others. They are the ones helping, volunteering, holding doors, mentoring, and supporting others who are new to the journey they’ve walked with courage and pride.

I have heard many people in long-term recovery say they are now grateful for the disease of addiction they have within them. Without it, they wouldn’t have become the amazing people they are today and wouldn’t be working diligently every day to maintain a new way of life they can be proud of.

So, the next time you see someone struggling in the throes of their addiction and behaving poorly due to their angst and constant struggle, I encourage you to be compassionate. Remember the person they are about to become with the right help and support.

They are about to become someone who helps so many others find their way.

The Bigger Picture

By: Emma Benard 

What has been most helpful in my personal recovery, as well as in my work with others in recovery, is the concept of looking at the bigger picture.

The bigger picture includes those things outside yourself that make life exciting, fulfilling, and complex. The bigger picture includes family, friends, occupation, nature, and hobbies. The bigger picture includes your life, years and years from now, and your personal goals and aspirations. The bigger picture also includes hope, faith, and courage!

Remembering the bigger picture can help immensely when you may be feeling stuck in your recovery, afraid or hesitant to move forward and to move past or eradicate behaviors that are no longer serving you for the better. This is because it challenges you to see more clearly all life has to offer and all you have to offer to life!

The opposite of the bigger picture is what you could call your own inner world. This particular inner world I am speaking of may be fully or partially run by your addiction, obsession, disorder, negative self-talk, etc.

Though I do very much believe there are different kinds of inner worlds, some being very healing and positive, for this blog post I am focusing on the inner world that keeps you trapped in some way. This kind of inner world is often what blocks out any hope that is being offered by the bigger picture of life. This inner world is what keeps you focused on the things that in the long run, are making you feel miserable and stagnant. This inner world is focused on “me” and has trouble viewing the world apart from that focus.

When this inner world is in charge, life revolves around all of the behaviors and urges associated with your personal struggles in recovery. This often leads to feeling alone and terrified of change, especially positive change, because that is of a whole other realm. That means bringing in the bigger picture and allowing yourself to look past your troubles and to the possibility of change and personal growth.

I challenge you to honestly reflect on how you are currently living your life in regards to the bigger picture versus your inner world. Are they balanced or is one overpowering the other? What does the bigger picture mean to you? What do you really want for your life, considering the bigger picture?

My inner world wants to keep me small, wants to stifle my voice, wants to punish me, wants to control me. My inner world is currently run by fear, anxiety, sadness, and pain. When I take in the wisdom that comes through looking at the bigger picture, I suddenly and powerfully remember that I want to feel free, that I want to share love and compassion, and that I want to make a positive difference. This is the core of my recovery and keeps my light burning inside. This is what I hope for you to find and to nourish, your wisdom through the bigger picture!