Recovery is a continuous process that involves learning, growing, and changing awareness every step of the way. It’s important to experience and face challenges during recovery, because they are the very things that make one into a stronger and wiser person. Luckily, being in recovery automatically puts you in arm’s reach of a variety of tools that can be used to deal with challenges and turn them into learning experiences and opportunities for growth, rather than letting them turn into setbacks.
Going to a meeting, talking to a sober friend, therapist, or sponsor, or simply spending your time with others in the sober community can help you deal with triggers, emotional obstacles, and other challenges. In recovery, you have the foundation for building a better life at your disposal,and that includes learning some very important life lessons that will help you get through almost anything.
Turning to these life lessons in moments when temptation, loneliness, frustration, or fear become overwhelming can help keep you on course, or at least steer you back when things get get confusing. Here are some important life lessons to learn about in recovery and use throughout your life.
1. Making peace with your past
Anyone who is beginning their recovery journey will need to learn this one. The pain, guilt, shame, sadness, and regret connected to the things you’ve done in the past can haunt you forever and hold you back from achieving true sobriety if you never learn how to let them go. This will involve a long and painful process of making amends to those you have hurt and then forgiving yourself for the things you’ve done.
Remembering the damage that you’ve created in relationships or otherwise can be overwhelming, but you will need to take responsibility for all of it before you can move on. The same goes for any resentments or anger toward others. These feelings will only hinder your progress, so learn to forgive others as well as forgive yourself. Talking with a therapist can be especially helpful for this life lesson. And when you feel old feelings or resentments rising up even after you thought they’d been dealt with, go back and deal with them. Hopefully the second time won’t be as hard.
2. Stop worrying about what others think.
This is another difficult life lesson that must be learned in order to move forward. In order to truly develop your confidence and self esteem, you must first stop caring what others say or think about you. Learn to value your own opinion of yourself above others’ and learn how to love yourself no matter what kind of people surround you. You’ll find that self confidence will naturally develop once this shift in your thinking has taken place.
3. Let time heal you.
Recovery can’t be rushed because it is a long process that takes time, commitment, and learning many, many lessons. The pain you experienced in the past may seem all too vivid right now, but it can and will heal with time. In the end, you will only end up being stronger and wiser.
4. Take control of your own happiness.
This lesson involves learning to look inward for one’s own happiness and fulfillment, rather than seeking it from outside sources. Relationships with other people, money, popularity, or abusing substances will never bring us the happiness we crave. Only learning to truly love and accept oneself can do that.