Essentials of Recovery
Just over a year ago, many of us felt as if we had a pretty good handle on what our lives looked like, what we could expect and even what we could do if we needed help getting back on track with emotional health, fitness or any other need. It’s not that any of us knew the future, but looking back at that time, many of us can see that there existed presupposition regarding ‘what to expect’ in our immediate future. Of course we all know that in short order, the reality of our own individual world, (health, finances, careers, family, and yes – our futures), were indeed far more fragile than ever fully realized prior. There came upon ourselves, our communities and even our world – a wave of uncertainty, uneasiness and as time has passed, a drastic impact was surely felt upon our overall sense of wellness.
I can remember staring out the window and seeing the wind blow through the trees, the birds landing and flying around, my dogs running in our back yard playing with each other and watching as a storm passed through with flashes of lightning, the reverberating ‘boom’ of thunder and the rhythmic sound of rain pinging the roof…thinking to myself, “It all seems so unreal. How can this be?” Certainly I was not alone in this. But as days turned to weeks – weeks to months – and now reaching a year, we find ourselves still living with an uncertainty of what the future holds and an absolute awareness of the importance of self-care. So how do we achieve wellness in such unpredictable times?
A very good piece of literature, (well known in some circles and not as much in others), is the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which was first published April 10, 1939. Within its pages can be found much wisdom, as well as easy to follow instruction for how to put it into practice. One such morsel of knowledge is in this statement from page 568 that reads, “Willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.” Upon initially reading this, it doesn’t sound like anything more than a modern day ‘meme’. However, it actually contains within it, foundational principles that provide a limitless resource of wellness for our lives by the simple act of building a discipline in their application. The word ‘essential’ actually means: Absolutely necessary; Extremely important.
So it is of interest that these 3 things would be referred to in this way. To know why that is, we must first know what these three essentials are really all about. Willingness means: Relating to the will or power of choosing – also noting it as ‘sometimes doing what is asked or needed when we do not want to‘; Honesty means: Free of deceit and untruthfulness – the quality of being honest; and Open-Mindedness means: Broad minded – open – receptive – Willing to listen, think about or accept different ideas.
Whether it be in our families, our careers, our friendships and yes, even in the midst of such a great uncertainty produced by a worldwide pandemic – it makes no difference. The pathway to wellness is found when we cease to allow our circumstances to define our condition, and to instead use these three tools to take ownership of our lives and propel us to health – mentally, physically and spiritually. But how? Let’s use the common example of weight gain – (most of us have been hit by the ‘COVID-15+lb’). First, the exercise of honesty to admit to our self that ‘COVID’ did not put the weight on, rather, emotional eating – being in the house watching Netflix – a lack of exercise and exponential boredom did! Admitting this takes the power away from a pandemic and returns it to us! We can then exercise open-mindedness to investigate a new way of having physical fitness, even though it may be really outside the box of what we are comfortable with or desire. (Such as working out at home, the park or backyard rather than a gym). Finally, we can exercise willingness to get off our sofas and start doing it, even though we may feel less than enthusiastic; Create healthier meals that we enjoy and most importantly, limit time doing nothing. The end result will be an improved overall sense of well-being, health and accomplishment.
These 3 essentials can be applied to EVERY aspect of our life, including the areas of mental health, alcoholism and drug addiction. Each essential, taking the power that was given away to someone or something else that gave it to have control in and over our life – and returning it to the rightful owner! With that power returning to YOU, wellness will very naturally begin to grow and what once seemed out of reach will be easily managed. If you want to get your life back and start fresh, but just don’t know where to begin, or realize that you could use support, please know that it can happen TODAY by reaching out to a trusted friend, a support fellowship or you can reach out to us and we will be happy to help you get where you want to be!