Addiction: Recover the Wonder

 Your Cathedral is Your Imagination

When you say “I wonder…” you have already changed, your recovery has begun.  


“The Spirit of God hovered over the waters.”

Before God worked, he hovered. Hovering is the work before the work. Hovering is what happens when the painter looks at her empty canvas, the writer opens an blank screen, and a builder looks into the freshly dug hole.

Addiction Recovery is a Simple Path, part of that Simple Path is what happens inside of us. Recovery from addiction, mental illness or any other dark night first begins inside.

Many things happen to you, but what happens inside of you is the real deal.

You cannot act without imagination

Go ahead, try to do one thing without first picturing it in your mind. See, I told you.

When you recover your imagination, you reclaim your soul.

Imagination is the first step to any recovery and it can change your life. Imagining yourself taking an action gives courage to take the action, but the action needs to be taken.

Imagination can also eat away at any resolve to change when we bathe our minds in anxiety, avoidance or excuses. But change is only one dream away.

Imagination is the world within

The Eye of RecoveryImagination: Image + Nation (or world). You have a world within that is made of your memories, unmade (and imagined) choices and experiences, knit together with your emotions. Your brain communicates in pictures and it will use spoken language only if it has nothing else to use.

Scientists tell us our brains are tissue, electrical impulses and chemicals. But that is crap because they have just described a McDonalds hamburger. Your brain is WAY more than a Big Mac, it is the spark of life and each day you can progress.

Your imagination is where you hover 

Scientists tell us our brains are tissue, electrical impulses and chemicals. But that is crap because they have just described a McDonalds hamburger. Your brain is WAY more than a Big Mac, it is the spark of life and each day you can progress.

Recovery plays out in your dreams, both your day dreams and your night dreams. Dreams are like seeds. Imagination can prompt vulnerability and change, or it can promote fear.

When you recover your imagination, you reclaim your soul. Simple, but not easy.

To cultivate your imagination here are five suggestions:

1. Cultivate your imagination

Read fiction; Close your eyes and listen to music; Cultivate laughter, because it is impossible to laugh hopelessly; Exercise because when your body moves, your soul moves with it.

2. Let your dreams come

If your only let yourself dream about what you want (ie: goals), you are ignoring a powerful resource. Goals are where you take your mind and are limited to what you know. Dreams are where your mind takes you and are they unlimited.

Both your goals and dreams are important. Do both

Slow down, and dream. Dream intentionally, give yourself time to daydream but guide your mind with positive images and input.

3. Expect ideas

Cravings are part of any change. They are the brain’s way of weaning off of an unhealthy source. You cannot stop the cravings, so let them come. But you can have a plan. Your mind is there to help. It will send ideas, pictures and dreams that can challenge the cravings.

When you are given an idea, act on it. Write it down. Talk about it. Do.

4. Be bored and love it

Imagination waits before it speaks. Your recovery needs you to be busy, but it also needs you to be bored. Choose when and how long. Being quiet lets your mind relax, but it will take time.

5. Find your cathedral, your Fortress of Solitude

Superman recovered in his Fortress of Solitude. You need your own fortress, a cathedral where you can recharge.

Find your cathedral: Attend recovery meetings or create your own; Soak up time in old buildings or churches that echo from generations of struggle; Find a library or bookstore that smells like wisdom; Go to the mountains and be; Listen to music.

This is part two in my series on recovery from addiction, mental illness or any dark night experience. For more on the topic, type “Addiction” in my web page search box and then dive in.

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Photos by Bill Olsen and Zach Dischner

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