Anyone who has ever faced recovering from an addiction will gladly tell you it’s undoubtedly one of the hardest, if not the hardest, things they’ve ever had to do in their lives. Not only are there physical and psychological addictions to recover from but your entire life needs to change and sometimes that means leaving everything and everybody you’ve known behind in order to walk a clean and sober path. You will face struggles you’ve never had to face before along with all those stresses that probably led you into addiction and this time without the help of that magic formula that gave you a coping mechanism.
Only that was a false and temporary fix that did nothing to eliminate the problems causing your inner turmoil. It only masked the symptoms. Now in recovery you need to reach deep within to find the strength not only to face recovery but to get through each day with all its ups and downs. Per Wickstrom, founder of The Best Drug Rehab and US Addiction Services, offers some effective tips for finding strength in addiction recovery.
Don’t Expect Too Much Too Soon – Be Kind to Yourself
In his own struggles with addiction, Per learned to be patient with himself as he stumbled along the path to recovery. He began to understand that no one is perfect and that he is going to struggle just like everyone else in life. The difference is, now he is doing it on his own without the use of those chemical ‘feel good’ aids so he is bound to have moments of pain and despair.
Per says one of the best ways to find strength in addiction recovery is to be kind to yourself. “They say kindness is a virtue,” Per says, “but I go one step further in telling you that kindness starts from within. Be kind to yourself because you are on a right path giving it your all. No one can expect more than that.”
Keep In Mind that Everyone Has His Own Path to Walk
There is something else that Per Wickstrom learned early on in his recovery. He explains that addicts will often look around them and see others who seem to be breezing through the steps and meeting each challenge easily. Some found that discouraging because they struggled as others appeared to find recovery as simple as taking a shower. They were shedding their old skin and putting on a new with seemingly little effort. He soon discovered that everyone faces challenges differently.
We are all unique individuals and their pain may be greater or lesser than yours and although they face similar challenges to yours, no one walks the same path. Per Wickstrom says if you want to find strength in recovery you need to learn not to compare yourself to others and to be proud of yourself for your own accomplishments in this place where you are in this moment. That’s real strength – the ability to appreciate what you are doing, knowing it is right and good.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help and Guidance
In the 12 Step program of AA and NA, everyone has a sponsor. That is someone the addict can turn to when the going gets rough in order to seek counsel. Per says that in his treatment centers the counselors are there for their clients and so there is never a need to keep things bottled up inside. He believes one of the worst mistakes a recovering addict can do is to not reach out for help when it is needed. Those dark moments of despair often lead to relapse so always seek out that sponsor, that mentor, that counselor who is your rock.
They can’t do it for you but they can walk with you so you aren’t alone. They can offer advice and guidance and a shoulder to lean on which is often all that it takes. There is strength in numbers so let your sponsor or counselor be your ‘numbers.’ Don’t go it alone. There is never a need to do that.
A Few Closing Thoughts
So in conclusion, Per Wickstrom says that everyone finds strength in a different way. Some people reach out in faith, whatever faith they may have while others reach down deep within to find that inner self that is strong and capable. Others reach out to friends, loved ones and their sponsor. You can find the strength you need but sometimes you have to ask for help.
Everyone faces the challenges of recovery differently so know that you are not alone, you are not doing it wrong and be kind to yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will you be rebuilt into a clean and sober person. It takes time so go easy on yourself and strength will surface when you least expect it.