Learning to use your imagination for your recovery may be the key to change.
What is it? You know, that thing that you want to be rid of?
For some of us, it may be a relationship. For others, it may be an addiction or a really strong habit. And for others, it may be a health issue like depression, anxiety or cancer.
Each of us has something difficult to overcome. Life is set up this way: no one can escape the reality that we need to learn to thrive despite challenges. Overcoming challenging personal obstacles is one of the best ways to understand ourselves and learn more about our strengths and our vulnerabilities.
We each long for more freedom, for a life without the thing that presents so many personal obstacles and undermines our self-worth. We may think so much about this difficult area that it takes on a life of its own. Longing, dreaming for our freedom, and wishing for a different life may become a major counter-pursuit.
Who are you?
Take a minute and ask yourself: Who are you without that thing?
- Imagine it, feel it, sense it.
Who are you, without the substance use? Without the depression? Without the flaky-dependent boyfriend? Without the cancer?
I get that it is difficult to envision yourself free from a condition that robs you of so much. Especially if you are suffering from a disease that impacts your mind and emotions like addiction or depression. But part of recovery is embracing difficult things.
We are stronger in our recovery when we use our minds for our benefit. Our imaginations can be a powerful tool for our health and wellness. Alternatively, we can let our minds wander and then see what happens. Most likely, that is part of what got us into trouble in the first place.
What pulls you forward?
Stop and close your eyes. Then imagine.
- How would you feel?
- What would you do differently towards yourself, towards those you love?
- What would you say to yourself, how would you speak to other people?
- How would you cope with obstacles?
Stop, now and try it. (Pick one or two questions)
What you just thought of is your pull. Your pull is a way that you use intentions to create a better life for yourself. This is different than your push, the things that push you in a direction that you do not want to go (the triggers, the pressures and stress and the raw emotions).
It will pull you forward on your difficult days and provides a part of your vision of recovery. Your mind was given to you and your imagination can either be used for your best interests or against yourself. It’s up to you how your mind will be used.
One of the things I have had to learn to work around is that when I imagine a better life, I see it perfectly without any other problems. This isn’t real and just makes things worse because we may expect a problem-free life. I now envision problems occurring and responding to them better (not perfectly), using better coping and improved relationship skills.
“Are we going to use our imaginations to solve problems or to cause them?” Mayor Johnson Green from the TV series “Jericho.”
Keep it Real
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