Addiction causes a great deal of suffering and it has the ability to destroy everything in a person’s life. Despite all this, having the courage to overcome an addiction is still incredibly difficult. A person will need a great deal of courage to leave the familiarity of their addiction to drugs or alcohol behind, and step out into the unknown.
Courage can be defined as a quality that enables a person to stand up to resistance, fear or pain. Someone with courage will still feel fear, but they have chosen to accept it and even have control over it.
Addiction and courage
When we look at the reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol, a lack of courage for facing the hardships and reality of life is a big one that often comes up. An addict may believe that they are escaping or effectively coping with their problems by using drugs or alcohol, when in fact the problems are only becoming much worse. The relief that drinking or using drugs brings is only temporary. Their problems will only return and will become much worse, leading to more drinking or drug abuse. The only way this deadly cycle can be broken is with courage.
Why is courage needed for recovery?
Simply admitting that you need help, and then making the choice to begin recovery is already a very courageous move. Knowing that you need to make a change and then taking steps to make it happen is a scary thing to do for anyone. The changes that need to made for a successful recovery will be big ones. Courage, along with motivation and support from others will definitely be needed. Here are a few other reasons to maintain courage in recovery:
Because recovery is an ongoing process rather than a one time decision, courage will be necessary for all the challenges that will lie ahead.
Sobriety requires a person to take a long, hard look at the choices and mistakes they’ve made in the past. Courage will be needed to do this, and then move on to continued growth and healing.
Courage is also needed to face the hardships and uncomfortable feelings that inevitably arise in life. Using drugs or alcohol to deal with these hardships is the opposite of courage.
Recovery forces a person to take a look at their character and what kinds of issues they may have. This kind of self examination is very scary and uncomfortable. Courage and the desire to heal will be needed to make progress.
How to maintain courage in recovery.
Courage isn’t something we’re born with – it’s a skill that can be learned and developed with practice and determination over time. For someone in recovery, the following tips can help maintain courage:
Remember that courage doesn’t mean never being afraid. It simply means you acknowledge the fear, and instead choose something different or take action despite it.
Being open to new experiences and learning opportunities is another way to develop courage. Welcoming the unknown without any judgement takes strength.
Taking on responsibility in recovery is another way to develop courage. This can be done through service to others.
Setting up and then facing small challenges is also good for developing courage, as well as building self esteem. This practice helps a person build their ability to trust themselves and see things through.
Practices such as mindful meditation or cognitive behavioral therapy help a person foster healthy thoughts and beliefs about themselves and learn to let the negative ones go. This leads to better self control and courage in the face of fear.