Tuesday September 27th 2016

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Sadness in addiction recovery: Overcoming the illusion of sorrow

Sorrow is a feeling of anxiety, fear, and sadness, caused by loss, disappointment, or other heartbreak suffered by ourselves or others around us each day. However, sorrow comes in many forms and is one of the deadliest ways to stop us in our tracks and keep us from growing.

Here, we explore the dangers of feeling sorrow or self-pity in addiction recovery. Then, we invite your experience, strength, and hope about addiction recovery in the comments section at the end.

Alcohol or drugs compound sorrow

I mentioned in some earlier posts my father’s story: his father and his brothers struggled with alcoholism, a struggle compounded by deep sorrow. The interesting thing about sorrow is that it can come from the very thing we are using to self-medicate.

Self-medication tends to be driven by the desire to avoid rather than confront. The feeling that if we somehow can physically remove the pain, then we heal the pain. We quickly realize the harder we try to self-medicate the quicker we run into unhealthy habits. We medicate the symptom rather than treating the soul.

Self-medication does not work for one simple reason: it does not treat the whole person. It does not treat the mind, body or spirit. For any treatment to work for our soul, it must treat the WHOLE. The whole person must be the primary focus.

Moving past the illusion of sorrow

Sorrow is an illusion derived from the belief that we’re strong enough to take care of ourselves. However, the deeper the issue, the more we need qualified help to move us past the hurdle. The hurdle is our training ground and the quicker we submit to those that can help, the faster we can obtain useful knowledge of moving forward in our lives.

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We can remove the illusion of sorrow by taking very intentional action steps with positive influencers, written growth plans and surrounding ourselves with accountability that keeps us in the right boundaries. The sorrow that once bound us now becomes the tool to unbind others.

4 steps to overcoming sadness in recovery

Here are four steps to move past the illusion and move forward:

Step 1: Acknowledge that you need a coach.

Know that it’s not because you are weak, but because you are strong. The strength to move past one’s pride is the very key to moving past one’s heartbreak.

Step 2: Face the issue.

Commit to growing through an issue instead of self-medicating. Avoid the flight response and grow the fight response.

Step 3: Create a growing plan.

Developing plans is a natural action step to improve yourself. The growth plan was the largest impactor in my healing. Each day there was a devotional of the mind, devotional of the spirit and a physical activity to build the “WHOLE” person. Commit to growing not just for yourself but others!

Step 4: Have accountability.

Accountability comes in many forms, but the primary ones involve a coach, counselor, written action plan with dates of completion.

Break open and open up about addiction

Many times, the first step to healing is allowing ourselves to be broken. As you move forward, remember to reach out to those around you for support and to open up the conversation about the sorrow you’re experiencing. Each moment can teach you something about yourself and can be a tool to help you and others heal.

In your service
Stephen Scoggins

Photo credit: Andrei Shumskiy

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About Stephen Scoggins

Stephen travels throughout the country teaching faith and self-understanding. His goal is to empower others to use the bricks of past failures to build a new foundation for success, reigniting a passion for life and purpose to make large steps toward a bright future. Find out more about Stephen and the Journey Principles Institute here.

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