As addicts, drugs and alcohol take over our actions, as well as our thoughts. The “great obsession” of using liquefies any desire to pursue interests that we either used to love or might find enriching to our lives. Refreshed and renewed, many of us feel the overwhelming need to replenish our desires with healthy actions. And this is where the concept of a new #drugofchoice is formulated. It is in our nature to be drawn to things that spike our endorphins – much the way drugs or alcohol may have in the past. Finding activities that elicit similar feelings of happiness is what not only replenishes our need to capture those “feel-good” feelings, but is also key in expanding the wealth of our lives exponentially, allowing us to achieve greater joy and awareness than ever imagined.
Once paralyzed by our dependency to substances, now in recovery our lives are opened up to all of the beautiful opportunity to be, experience, do, feel and love, with more availability, both physically and emotionally, then ever before. These feelings translate into hobbies, which in turn begin to identify who we are in our newly expanded life as a direct result of our sobriety. It is, absolutely, one of the greatest gifts of recovery.
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wish I had time to do that.” or, “I haven’t done this in so long.” It’s a feeling most of us have as adults, considering all of the obligations life brings our way that require our attention first, before being able to pursue what we really love. This is a reality for all people – whether battling addiction or simply going through the monotonous motions of modern life. But for those who live in the presence of their recovery, well, they have the greatest opportunity of all to use their program to build a life beyond expectation.
Perhaps you’re drawn to a physical outlet like yoga, surfing, hiking or playing golf. Others are drawn to creative therapies like painting, writing or playing music. You can even share your passion with others by engaging more with your family, for instance, by preparing a homemade meal together or by teaching your kids how to bake. Simply going for a bike ride with a friend or making a commitment to do something leisurely together, like going to a movie or visiting an art gallery, can unexpectedly offer you the joy and comfort we as people (not just addicts) so crave.
Yes – believe it or not, working a 12-step program is the defining factor that brings this self-awareness and balance into focus. If you haven’t already been replenishing your days with things you love, you have probably felt the void. But just by simply working the steps, we find our days suddenly feel longer. Our obligations begin to lessen. Once we’ve cleared away the wreckage of our past, our future is free, clear, bright and optimistic. There is this availability (which comes almost without any effort at all) to fill in newly opened spaces of your life with things that bring you happiness, without having to “make time”.
With this renewed energy and enthusiasm, it only naturally predicates the conviction to pursue the things that we have always, or perhaps for the very first time, truly desire. For it is in just knowing we are capable of pursuing our deepest passions that we as humans begin to tap into our truest selves; those parts of us that we have let dissolve away for so long. We’ve all known people who have parlayed their passion into a lifestyle, even a career. Nothing can be more rewarding that doing what you love, and loving what you do. Having the foundation of being sober and using the tools of the 12-steps affords us a practical blueprint to pursue whatever desires we may conjure up.
In recovery, there is no more rewarding experience than being able to have the freedom to pursue your dreams, especially as many of us, for so long, had incubated in a state of self-depletion. It is in our renewed sense of selves, constructed by our choice to live sober, that we relish in the greatest opportunity of all: to use our program to bolster a life beyond our wildest expectations. Today, I ask you to consider if you’re taking full advantage of your recovery and relishing in your own #drugofchoice. If not, as they say, “find what brings you joy, and go there.”