As a trained professional in the field of substance-use recovery, a practicing recovery coach, and more importantly, a person in successful recovery from addiction for over 26 years, I have some knowledge to share and lots of hope for anyone who’s ready for change.
Today I want to share one of my core beliefs about what it takes to stop drinking and drugging and STAY STOPPED. This article, nor my core beliefs about recovery, contain any mind-bending secrets or silver bullets that will suddenly “fix” everything that’s “on fire” in the life of an active substance-abuser. My approach is one of coaching, leading, and educating people to discover the real solution to sustainable sobriety and recovery.
I have met many-many people, including hundreds of former and current clients, who latched on to implied promises or “pie in the sky” advertisements claiming a particular treatment center or clinical rehabilitation program would supply them with an easy fix to their problems. There is a certain draw or attraction that exists with the promise of luxurious accommodations, spa-like therapeutics, and landscaped campuses – for sure. I have practiced as a counselor in those environments myself and have seen some cases of real success come along from time to time without a doubt. But my clients will tell you that being coached through the journey of recovery was the real solution for them in the end.
The core belief I want to address has to do with what I call a recovery structure, or a well constructed recovery foundation. My extensive experience proves to me that real, complete, and sustainable recovery from substance-use disorder can only be consistently achieved with what engineers and builders call “structural integrity”. Therefore I present to you these 8 “pillars” of recovery wellness and I implore readers to absorb each point and consider the meanings – not just the words.
What are these “Pillars”?
Let’s start with a simple and straightforward dictionary definition.
pillar [ pil-er ]
- an upright structure, of stone, brick, or other sturdy material, used as a building support:
- any upright, supporting part:
- one of a possible series of supports for an overall structure often used during early construction
The eight pillars referred to here are what I know to be the supporting structure for recovery wellness. These include: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and social pillars. Also consider that a solid structure of addiction recovery and wellness can be compromised by lack of support, trauma, unhelpful thinking styles, chronic illness/disability, and substance use among other things. By the way, I have written and presented interventions on how to avoid and correct these potential compromises. More on that subject later.
Here are the first 4 Pillars of Recovery Wellness
We can identify emotional wellness as an ability to cope effectively with life and build satisfying relationships with others. People with healthy emotional wellness feel confident, in control of their feelings and behaviors, and are able to handle life challenges. Working through life challenges can build resilience in recovery as we learn that setbacks can be overcome. Recovery from substance-use gives your mind new open spaces to explore. Listening to and participating in guided meditations on emotional wellness are recommended as a daily practice as your life begins to bloom into visions of new possibilities.
Spiritual wellness is related to your values and beliefs. These help you find meaning and purpose in your life. Spiritual wellness may come from many activities and practices which I will cover at a later time. Signs of strong spiritual health include having clear values, a sense of self-confidence, a solid foundation in sobriety, and a feeling of inner peace. Maintaining a playful, curious attitude can help you find experiences that offer hope, purpose, and meaning as you expand your recovery strengths and resilience.
Intellectual wellness is when you recognize your unique talents to be creative and you seek out ways to use your knowledge and skills. With mood-altering substances out of the picture in your life, a whole new world of thinking and possibilities open up. When you seek to expand your intellectual wellness, you participate in activities that expand your mental health, awareness, and recovery strengths. When you challenge yourself to learn a new skill, you are building your intellectual health. People who pay attention to their intellectual wellness often find that they have better concentration, improved memory, sharper critical thinking skills, and greater leaps of progress in their recovery..
Physical wellness is a priority in recovery. Our bodies have often been neglected during prolonged episodes of substance-use. Recovery is boosted by physical activity, healthy nutrition, and adequate sleep. There are many examples of physical activity that range in levels of intensity from light to vigorous. Once a recovering person has reached some enternal balance and committment to the recovery journey, the cravings for substance-use begins to wane. Now is a good time to shift away from old and self-defeating coping tools. Unfortunately, many of those old methods of coping can lead to physical health problems. Smoking-related illnesses, for instance are related to half of all deaths for people diagnosed with a behavioral health condition like substance-use disorder.
Take a closer look at yourself, your difficulties, and the solution thats right for you by navigating to my Start Here page for a Free Online Self Assessment.
Return here for The 8 Pillars of Recovery Wellness (Part 2) . I’ll have it posted for you next week. Meanwhile, read on through the rest of the page and make note of the resources below and navigate my website to the Resources page for much more helpful information, including videos, recommended books, and recovery guided meditation recordings.
You can access more helpful recovery guidance by clicking HERE for my Free Day 1 Guide
If you are struggling and ready to make a beautiful life change for you and your family, step out and commit – go to the Start Here page to sign up for the Recovery Journey digital course. It’s thorough, effective, and hundreds of people have found their real recovery by completing the course.
The solution to the problem that most likely landed you on this page is a simple one. However it requires a journey to full recovery, one marked by some difficult twists and turns on the trail of self-discovery, honesty, and open-mindedness. The journey requires an experienced navigator, one that knows the landscape and the footholds along the way. The destination is what I call the “summit of recovery”, a place only reachable by a willing explorer with the appropriate tools and provisions for the journey.
I will present more of what I know to be critical information for your consideration in the next blog. Stay tuned.
Next Week: The 8 Pillars of Recovery Wellness (Part 2)
Be safe and care for one another.
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Asking for Medical Help
If you or someone you know exhibits withdrawal symptoms, psychological problems, or any signs of self-harming behavior, contact your medical professional, call 911, or reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)