How to Find the Blessing in Being an ‘Addict’
Acceptance that you’re an addict is rough. Yet reframing offers you the ability to see addiction as a massive opportunity to impact every single area of your life immensely positively.
As addicts in recovery, we’ve all done some pretty shitty things to ourselves and other people.
Yet this needn’t be a source of shame at all.
In fact, with reframing it can become the foundation for a future strength.
The places reframing can take you are absolutely limitless, and it’s amazing what you can achieve when you implement the reframing mechanism into your life.
Mission 1: Kill the Victim
Before you can create change, you must let go of old ideas.
Feeling you’re a victim in life in surely one of the most subtle and deadly life narratives you can have.
It totally blocks you off from accepting positive change and shackles you to pain.
Pain can be a strange form of pleasure for many men.
Why? Because it helps them build an identity.
It helps them make an excuse for why they’re not where they need to be.
It helps them not take responsibility.
The reality is that even if you have been victimized, it is imperative you don’t play that role in life.
If you do, you are vulnerable to depression, anxiety attacks, abuse and most fundamentally, low self-esteem.
There are plenty of self-help groups, 12-step groups, therapists, friends and doctors out there who you can work through your issues with.
The key is not to apply this ‘victim mentality’ to your day-to-day life.
Mission 2: Take Responsibility
One of the major obstacles to my early recovery was acknowledging the bad things I’d done in my past.
I found it difficult reconciling myself with the ways in which I’d behaved towards people, the viciously mean things I’d said, the adultery, the fights I’d started, the countless embarrassments I’d caused myself and others.
Yet as a man seeking a spirit of strength, security and contentment, I was shown that I must acknowledge my prior behaviour and take responsibility for it.
Why? That’s how you banish it.
The fact that we have been ‘sick’ in the grips addiction is not and should not ever be grounds to excuse our prior behaviour.
To the outer world and to others, we are responsible for our actions and must pay the full price, whatever that may be.
However, in our search for development and progression as men, we can bolster ourselves into the position of strength to say we will take responsibility by accepting to ourselves that in our addiction we were sick and we are now willing to learn and grow in the right direction.
This also goes some way in explaining our behaviour to ourselves.
We as addicts have all made poor decisions.
We have done things that many of us thought we would never do.
Yet seeing these errors as symptoms of our addiction helps us reconcile ourselves with the past.
Again, this does not mean we are not responsible for such past errors, but we can begin to see them as facets of our addictive behaviour.
Of course, this means that in sobriety we must seek to live by a code of morality much stricter than before.
If our past acts are to be labelled as ‘sickness’ it is health we must strive for in our new lives so we don’t fall down the same pitfalls as we have in the past.
Further, it is natural that we will make mistakes in our sobriety, but it is our duty to be honest and take responsibility for these as soon as humanly possible to keep our spiritual credit balanced.
Mission 3: Reframing
By killing the victim and taking responsibility, you can create a model that moves you from ‘sick’ behaviour to ‘well’ behaviour.
If you do this thoroughly, watch your life open up around you.
People respect a man who is willing to admit to his mistakes and commit to taking responsibility for his life.
It is trustworthy behaviour.
Furthermore, it instils a strong sense of meaning, purpose and direction in you.
In essence, we as addicts are ironically gifted in that we have our past mistakes as a reference point from which we can grow forward.
Since coming into recovery, I have changed my internal narrative from: “I have made too much of a mess in the past and am cursed – I don’t deserve won’t be able to mange recovery and things will always be bad for me”
To: “I have made many mistakes when I was lost in my addiction, but I am thankful for these errors because they’ve shown me how not to act, how not to live, and how I must be honest, disciplined and non-judgemental of others for a life in which I can achieve anything I want to and be at peace with myself.”
Mission 4: Become the Light
I aim for positivity because I know the negative and the hellish chaos negativity and dishonesty will create for in my life due to experience.
Therefore, when we reframe we actively use the negative experiences in our lives to empower our trajectory toward self-progressing actions, honest behaviour and internal strength.
By reframing you can create a personal identity based on truth and positivity.
You have been deeply lost in the darkness and are now finding the light.
Further, it takes a man who’s walked in the darkness to know what the light means.
Therefore, in recovery, we come to embody the light.
Your actions actually have the ability to reframe not just your thinking but the world itself around you.
You gain. Your family gains. Your friends gain. Your society gains.
It Doesn’t Matter What You Say: It’s How You Act That Matters
Sobriety has shown me that human beings are deeply emotional.
When I was lost in addiction, I spent a lot of time planning conversations, having arguments in my head with people I didn’t like and considering the best response to say to someone in a given situation that’d make me look good.
Of course, when the opportunity came to have the conversations/arguments I’d been planning, the other person always said something I didn’t even expect!
This left me lost, confused as to what to say and like a rabbit in the headlights.
In sobriety, via reframing my sobriety as the drive for the positive and good, I have learnt that a positive open attitude is much, much more effective in human interactions because people feed off the atmosphere, or vibe, you bring rather than what you actually say.
Put simply, if you try and embody a positive light, other people will respond to that light and want to share it with you.
So if we reframe the negative narratives in our minds, as well as improving our own conscious experience of being and what we can achieve, we also go some way in improving the quality of life for those we meet as well.
Reframing is a vital tool in the way out of the hell of addiction.
It is freedom from anxious obsessing and the way toward better relationships and becoming the best version of yourself.