Learning how to trust yourself following months or even years of addiction is no small feat.
One of the most difficult parts of recovery lies in the battles between the voices within—the voice of the addict versus the voice of intuition. In the beginning of recovery, the voice of the addict is going to be prevalent, and it will be hard to decipher between the two voices.
If you are anything like me, then you deal constantly with a mind full of contrasting voices. One of them tells me to get the double fudge ice cream, another voice tells me that she wants to look good in a swimsuit, another voice tells me I can have both the swimsuit and the ice cream, and well, you get the idea.
While ice cream does not hold the same downfall as a turn back toward narcotics, the point is, we live in a constant tug-of-war between what we think we want and what we actually need. Establishing self-trust will help you on your path to deciphering between healthy urges and impulsive behavior. So where do you start?
1. Wipe the slate clean.
The first and most important step toward learning to trust yourself is starting new. Because we are creatures of habit, a clean slate will not happen overnight. The way to think about starting new is by putting old thought patterns and habits to rest. In other words, you must let your “past self” die.
Die? Of course, this death is metaphorical. Consider a rose bush. Once rose blossoms have wilted, you must prune the plant in order to allow new growth to emerge. It doesn’t matter how much Miracle Grow or other store-bought nutrient you mix into the soil; if you don’t cut off the dead, new buds won’t bloom.
Consider this image in your path. Imagine your habits and old ways of navigating the world as dead limbs. Every day, focus on one limb that you are ready to snip and let go. As you free space, you will be less prone to clinging onto the past and you will begin to see a different “you” in the mirror, one that appears more confident because you will understand the power in letting go.
2. Find an outlet.
This step goes hand-in-hand with the previous step. Where do you place those dead limbs? You may not feel comfortable with ditching the old self entirely because you understand that that old you is a well of experiences that made you who you are today. So rather than acting out the old habits, find an outlet of expression.
One of the best outlets during this process of letting go is a journal. Begin by writing down a list of things (limbs) that are outworn in your life. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just start by writing one thing that you want to let go of. For instance, one item might be: I want to stop insulting myself. We all know criticism can be healthy, but staring into the mirror and picking yourself apart is ultimately damaging.
This list needn’t be immediately complete. Think of the list as a flexible collection. As you scratch off items, you may add to the list. Under each item begin to explore the reasons why you want to let go of this item. The exploration doesn’t need to be a list of answers, but rather a set of questions.
As you begin this self-inquiry, you will naturally become more self-aware, and self-awareness will allow you to begin deciphering between the impulsive-self and the self-confident self.
3. Build upon your successes.
When you first start inpatient treatment, you will no doubt feel overwhelmed with the process. Rather than giving up or going all in too fast, if you focus on one step at a time, you can then build on the steps. In doing so, you will build confidence in your accomplishments, and as your accomplishments grow, you will grow.
This stretches back to the one-day-at-a-time mantra that you are likely no stranger to. Doing one thing toward your goal each day will eventually lead you to accomplishing that goal. Do not look at the peak of the mountain; focus on the soil beneath your feet and ground yourself in the journey.
4. Ask for help.
For some of you, this may be the hardest step. Asking for help is not always easy, but support from others is necessary for a successful recovery. Your loved ones and/or sponsors want to help you. When you open up yourself to asking for help, you are surrendering control, which will only aid in building self-trust. In other words, you are admitting that you can’t go it alone, and this admittance is a sign of maturity.
5. Be patient.
In sum, understand that rebuilding trust in yourself takes time. Rather than viewing this time as a painful process, consider it a time of self-discovery or rediscovery. You are lucky. You get the chance to begin anew. Let Fair Oaks Recovery Center help you create the best plan for your future.