One of the hardest parts of the recovery process is discovering that healing is a lifelong journey, and that there are no overnight cures, no quick fixes to our problems, no magical reset buttons to erase the issues we've been struggling with. When we're ready to take our recovery seriously, and to do the work that will enable us to keep ourselves going on a path of healing, we realize that we have to create lasting, transformative change within ourselves. We can't expect rehab to cure us within a month. We can't expect other people to do the work for us. We can't expect to be successful at implementing changes in our lives if we don't then work to uphold them and commit to them.
Limiting Beliefs Around Change
How do we create lasting change? One thing we must do is shift our beliefs around making change. We tend to have all kinds of limiting beliefs around creating change within ourselves and in our lives. For example, we convince ourselves that change is impossible, that it's hard and painful, that we're not capable of making change. We want to shift these beliefs by continuing to affirm to ourselves the opposite: that change is in fact possible, that it can be much easier to change than we imagined it would be, especially when we believe in ourselves, and that we are strong enough and capable enough to make changes in our lives. When we transform how we think about change and our capacity for change, we start to believe in ourselves and our potential more. We start supporting ourselves mentally and emotionally, rather than self-sabotaging our recovery and undermining our efforts. We feel more empowered and motivated. We begin to make more progress, when for so long we've been limiting ourselves and holding ourselves back.
Creating New Associations
When we begin to think of change differently, we start to incorporate more feelings of excitement, wonder, curiosity and optimism. We start to imagine what kinds of exciting things we're capable of and destined for. We start to be more openhearted and positive. We can think forward to the future – what kind of person will we be when we make the changes we want to make? How happy can we be? What are the happiest, healthiest versions of ourselves and our lives that we can begin to envision? Thinking along these lines helps to make change something we can look forward to, rather than something we dread and hate the thought of. We can see creating change as a powerful way of manifesting the lives we want for ourselves, rather than as something we're opposed to doing. We want to start thinking of making change in our lives as a spiritual test to commit to, a challenge to rise to. We often think of change as a burden, as doing something we don't want to do, as being forced to break habits we don't want to let go of. We associate life changes with having to give up things we want, things we've grown attached to. When we think of change, we feel depleted, drained, exhausted and defeated. We feel down on ourselves. Thinking more positively about change helps us to actually want to make changes, to keep motivating ourselves when things get tough, because we're creating new, happier associations around change, and we're committing to a future we can be proud of. We start to see ourselves as being successful, as finding happiness, and feeling fulfilled. We see change as an exciting thing. The changes we make in our lives are the steps we must take to bring that new version of ourselves to life. The more positive energy we can give to our transformation process, the more successful we'll ultimately be, and the happier we'll be along the way.
As we're beginning to shift how we think about change, we can also start taking a more honest inventory of ourselves and the things we actually want to change, both about ourselves and in our lives. When we're struggling with addiction and mental illness, many of us tend to be in denial about the issues we're facing. We suppress our difficulties and keep them hidden, even from ourselves. We have a hard time being open, honest, clear and vulnerable. These emotional patterns of avoidance, denial, secrecy and suppression keep us trapped in our unwellness. We want to start being more upfront with ourselves. What things are not working in our lives? What things are keeping us ill? What things are fueling our addictive patterns and mental health issues? For some of us, it might be our limiting beliefs and insecurities holding us back the most. For others, it might be our unhealthy relationships. Some of us might have to look at our living environments, our habits, routines and lifestyles, all of which can compound our struggles and threaten our recovery. We'll have to look within and really be honest with ourselves about the changes we want to make if we truly want our recovery to last.
A powerful way of helping ourselves create lasting change is to surround ourselves with people who want to see us succeed. Many of us are trying to recover all on our own, sometimes out of fear that we'll be judged by other people, or out of a sense of pride that makes us think we have to find our way alone. Some of us are staying attached to people who don't believe in us and who don't support our recovery because we believe we need them in our lives. Let's work on letting go of these limiting beliefs and attachments, so that we can discover the many benefits of having genuine love and support. We can gain tremendous insight, receive valuable resources, and join communities of hopefulness and solidarity when we allow ourselves to be helped. We can team up with accountability partners, check in with each other on our progress, and hold each other accountable on a regular basis around each of the changes we want to make. We can be uplifted when we slip up and make mistakes, and we can let others encourage and motivate us. Support is all around us when we're open to it – our therapists, coaches and sponsors, our support groups, our friends and family, online forums and resources, recreational and activity groups, and more. The more we include other people in our healing and transformation, the more we receive the support we need to make lasting changes in our lives. The more supported we are, the more we keep doing the work to make those changes permanent parts of our new lives and identities.
At WinGate Wilderness Therapy, we believe in the importance of helping you learn more about yourself as an individual, and we work with you to design a personalized treatment plan to meet your needs.
Reach out for support today.
P.O. Box 347
Kanab, UT 84741