Upon finishing a treatment program, we return to our regular lives with a whole new set of skills designed to help us stay on track with our recovery. We've learned important lessons about ourselves and our lives that will enable us to stay sober and to offset a bout of depression or other emotional issue. We've discovered important truths about our addictions, our mental illnesses and our behavioral issues, many of which have been hard for us to confront but which are now an important part of how we plan to live our lives. Our skills are all of the mental, emotional, behavioral and logistical habits that we're beginning to develop, that we are now working to incorporate into our daily lives. One of our greatest challenges in recovery is putting the new skills we've learned into practice. It's one thing to plan on how we will use them once we're out of treatment, but it's another thing entirely to put those plans into motion and begin using those new skills.
Treating Ourselves with Patience
One of the skills we're honing is our ability to have patience with ourselves and our recovery. It's so easy to fall into the trap of feeling frustrated and impatient with ourselves whenever there's a bump in the road. If we aren't doing things perfectly, or when things don't go exactly as planned, we're exceedingly hard on ourselves. We judge ourselves, put ourselves down and can be quite critical of ourselves. When we relapse, for example, we inundate ourselves with painful feelings of shame and self-condemnation. While in treatment, we learn certain emotional skills around patience that can help us to cope with some of these challenges. We learn to have compassion for ourselves when things get tough, and to give ourselves more self-love, not less, when we make a mistake. We learn to take things one day at a time, not rushing ourselves to have it all figured out or to try to solve all of our problems overnight. Instead, we can put our newfound skills of patience into practice by taking comfort in the fact that we can take things slowly, break things down into small steps, and approach our lives one day at a time.
Focusing On Our Progress
There is only so much we can control in life, and when we try to take on too much, we can find ourselves getting overwhelmed, stressed out and depressed. Many of us turn to our drugs of choice for solace when we feel this way. When we're impatient with ourselves, we're also being unkind to ourselves, and we can relapse from the pressure of it all. On the other hand, when we set the intention to focus on each day, one day at a time, we find we have more power over how that day goes. We become gentler and kinder with ourselves. We feel more successful in our recovery because we're taking inventory of all the changes and improvements we're making, none of which is too small for us to make note of and celebrate. We learn that our recovery is about progress, not perfection. Each incremental step we take adds up and culminates in the forward momentum that keeps us going. When we're impatient with ourselves, we actually block our progress and slow down that momentum. Taking things one day at a time, treating ourselves with patience and focusing on our progress can bolster how good we feel about ourselves and all of the important work we're doing.
One of the mental and emotional skills we begin to develop in treatment is that of mindfulness. When we are mindful, we learn to be patient with ourselves, to show ourselves compassion and self-love, and to congratulate ourselves for each bit of progress we make. This is because mindfulness helps us to be more observant, to be more careful with every aspect of our lives, and to play closer attention to how we think and feel. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) help us to bring everything we've suppressed up to the surface. We start being more mindful of our inner environments and paying more attention to the thoughts and feelings we've been trying so hard to avoid. We start noticing our habits and taking inventory of which ones are toxic and harmful to our well-being. When we are mindful, it's easier to take the steps to shed those habits, and to give more time and energy to the habits that support our wellness.
For example, the more mindful we become of our daily routines, the more we see how we're actually spending our time. Are we making time for self-care, or are the majority of our days taken up by scrolling through social media and gossiping with friends? Are we doing things we know are good for us, like exercising and getting out into nature, or are we glued to our cell phones? When we aren't mindful, most of our behaviors and choices are the things we do by default, the habits we've fallen into without thinking about them, without being conscious of them. Developing more mindfulness about how we're going about our days and how we're approaching our recovery is one of the best things we can do for our recovery. It helps us to look at ourselves more objectively and really take stock of the ways in which we're unconsciously hurting ourselves. Mindfulness literally helps us to put all of the skills we're learning in recovery into practice.
Professional help can make all the difference in your child’s life. We are dedicated to helping your child achieve sobriety and live up to their full potential. Reach out to WinGate Wilderness Therapy today.
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P.O. Box 347
Kanab, UT 84741