We call ourselves the House of Courage precisely because recovering from addiction requires an enormous amount of courage. Mustering up the willingness to make a change is the first step and it takes a ton of bravery to admit that you have a problem that you cannot fix by yourself.
Oftentimes making a change is difficult, even when it is for the better. Those suffering from addiction, can lose everything they hold dear and yet still remain tied to their toxic behavior because the familiarity of their habits appears more comforting than making a change. But this fear of change is exactly why courage needs to be cultivated to successfully recover from one’s addiction.
Courage is not the absence of fear but rather resistance to it, resiliency in the face of fear. It’s the quality of mind that enables someone in recovery to face head on the difficulties and pain that they are experiencing. And the willingness to overcome the obstacles that stand in their way and persevere through it.
Addiction as Escapism
Addicts will often look to drugs, alcohol, food, spending or whatever their unhealthy behavior of choice to escape from the realities of life and fulfill the ‘void’. But this temporary reprieve that is enjoyed is only temporary and often results in more problems and more reasons to return to using - to again escape the miseries of life. The void in one’s life cannot be realized when you fail to give yourself the time and mind to clearly see what is going on. In order to escape this cycle, courage must be summoned and acted upon to enter into and remain in active, successful recovery.
Why Courage is Needed in Recovery
- Recovery is a process and that means throughout recovery you will experience challenges that need to be met and faced with bravery.
- Once sobriety is achieved, facing the events of one’s past comes next and that takes courage. Everyone makes mistakes but these are forgivable. It’s the ability to admit one’s mistakes, acknowledge them and carry on forward that takes courage.
- It takes courage to open up and be honest with one’s self and others. This commitment to owning one’s whole being, past and present, and all the emotions one feels requires immense courage and vulnerability.
- It will require courage to remember why you are in recovery when the opportunity to relapse comes rearing its ugly head. Remember how far you’ve come and why you’ve chosen the path of sobriety. Be courageous and say ‘no’.
How to Cultivate a Courageous Attitude
Make Courage a Habit
As Brene Brown writes in her book The Gifts of Imperfection, “Courage is a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like when you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.” Make courage a habit by speaking up and standing up for what you believe in, everyday. This doesn’t mean joining an activist group or anything to that extreme, but rather having the courage to speak your mind and be yourself day in and day out.
Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
You’ve already done this by entering recovery. You’re awesome. Continue to find new ways of challenging yourself and try different healthy activities that will push the boundaries of what you know. You’ll discover new things about yourself and maybe find your best new habit. Perhaps you’re a super yogi, tennis star, or zen meditation expert. Who knows? But first, you have to try!
Rather than dwelling on the negative things that have happened or are happening, come back to gratitude and realize the positive things in your life. Part of having a positive attitude is accepting others help and realizing that they want to help. Let people in and be grateful that they are a part of your recovery and life.
Learn, Learn, Learn
Read books that inspire you and motivate you to follow your dreams. Learn more about how to be courageous by scoping out the self-help section and reading up on topics that resonate with you. Talk to people that who are also in active recovery and learn how they’ve developed their skills for facing fear head on.
Whatever route you go, remember that recovery is a journey and you’re not alone – there are many people, resources and tools available to help you succeed.