By Rachel Naomi Remen
“hope is a greater stimulant of life than any single realized joy could be.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Strong hope in recovery from addiction, is just as important as embracing a “one day at a time” perspective, seeking therapy, seeking a support system, having courage to change, and determination to never give up no matter how many times you fall. There are many ways to help you embrace an attitude of hope: Writing in a journal acknowledging the progress is so important. Addicts in recovery often get stuck thinking they are making no progress in the recovery journey. If they keep a journal, and look back over a few months they will see progress happens, just one day at a time and builds over time. I think a lot of people in recovery get tripped up over relapse, they lose hope, and worry that they are back to square one, but this is not the case. They are constantly learning in recovery, and with each relapse they learn new triggers, and can apply new tools to help them stand back up and fight for recovery. They never start in square one; they just may have stopped moving forward. They need to keep pushing forward knowing that they have learned from the past, will continue to learn, and there is hope that with each new day they are moving further in their recovery. Every day, they may learn to embrace a little more hope. Not be so hard on them for not feeling like they have “enough” hope. The recovery path is different from others, and the hope being built will take time. After years of addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, etc. they may have lost any hope they ever had, and it will take time to build a reservoir of hope to tap into on the hard days. Many people may be overachiever, perfectionists, and want to be recovered fast, and with little effort. Some may feel frustrated when they see others doing so well, and they feel like they are fighting harder and harder and not getting anywhere. It is important to stop comparing to others, and lower expectations in recovery. There will be progression at their own speed, and having hope and accepting a mindset of being present in the moment will help them take one step at a time. This isn’t a race, and finding a support system to help them along the way, can help slowly build hope in the recovery process. I believe embracing a mindset of hope is returning more and more to their authentic selves, working with and embracing who they really are. Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.