How to Create a Better Mindset in Your Recovery

You are the artist and your first creation is who you are

 “The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It as though the flow of life were backed up.” May Sarton as cited by Lewis Hyde

If you cannot learn to be creative, then you may never achieve the recovery or the healing that you want. You don’t need to learn how to paint, but yes, you do need to learn how to be creative if you want to change yourself.

If you are in recovery, you are an artist. Creativity is deeply inside of you. Recovery IS a creative act.

What is creativity?

You don’t need to learn how to paint, but yes, you do need to learn how to be creative if you want to change yourself.

Creativity, like recovery, is an act of courage. In creativity, you work to bring forward the treasure that is hidden within you. In both creativity and recovery, you are driven more strongly by your courage than by your fear.

Creativity and recovery are so similar, that they are interchangeable. They have the same goal in your life. Creativity does not want to make you into an artist, it just recognizes that, like all artists, you must first receive a gift if you are to become free.

For this post, I have chosen to use only the word recovery, but in my mind every time I write the word recovery, I am also thinking “creativity.” Try it. Every time you see the word recovery, replace it with the word creativity. You will see that recovery IS a creative act.

Most artists are converted to art by art itself. Lewis Hyde

The first thing that you create is…

Recovery is learning to appreciate your own joy. The first creative act is always to create yourself. Recovery means that you become willing to make something of yourself, and at times re-make  yourself.

Make something of your LIFE…
Make something of YOUR…


In recovery, you are the canvas and your brushes are the books, therapy, groups and conversations that inspire you.

The first creative act is always to create yourself. Creativity means that you become willing to make something of yourself, and at times re-make yourself.

You are in recovery when you know what brings you life. You have discovered the light within you. Your life becomes bigger, but not because of any kind of success, however enjoyable that may be. Your life expands because you don’t push the fear away. Instead, you find a way to make peace with your fear.

Your fear can be a friend, learn to make peace with it

Fear goes with you whenever you are considering anything that takes risk. Aggressively pushing your fear away or confronting it means that you are doing battle against the best and yet undiscovered parts of yourself. You don’t have to let go of fear, you just need to hold your courage a little tighter. Know that fear will always go with you, because fear has a job to do: it wants to keep you safe. Fear will nag and lecture and remind you of all that you will lose if you take that step.

 Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them. Elizabeth Gilbert

Your fear will shrink your life and will make you unhealthy. If you want to recover, you have to accept that your growth, your learning, your progress will happen alongside your fear. So let it scream and let it tantrum. Just wait it out because eventually it will quiet down. Make room for your fear, but don’t give it the keys to the car because only you can be in charge of where your life is going.

“When courage dies, creativity dies with it” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Recovery means that you need to exercise enough courage that you don’t wait for things to be just right before you take your next step. You accept some uncertainty. But once you accept uncertainty, something amazing happens: You learn that fear does not have to hold you back. The things that you once thought of as limitations are just thoughts.

You will never have enough… but begin anyway

Make room for your fear, but don’t give it the keys to the car because only you can be in charge of where your life is going.

One thing is sure, recovery is not a certain path. You may fear that you will be rejected, that you will never have enough (time, resources, energy, original and compelling ideas), or that you will be nothing more than a fraud, neither special nor unique.

Know this: you don’t need to wait. You are ready, just as you are. You don’t need more mentoring or coaching, you you don’t need more therapy, or better ideas. The right words will find you, the ideas, the will and the path that you must walk.

Recovery calls you. It calls you away from: a predictable life, away from control, and away from numbing… and it calls you towards – an interesting life and towards being more than who you are right now. Only an interesting life can give you the strength to leave the drugs, the alcohol, the depression and the hopelessness behind you.

Recovery is not about being successful (whatever that means). It is about finding your treasure. That means you need courage, faith and focus. Living into your recovery means that you don’t have any more time to think small. You don’t have to try to be someone who you are not.

An insight may come quickly, but the gut transformation is slow. After a day, even a month, of sobriety the newcomer isn’t a drunk, technically, but he’s not a recovered alcoholic, either. The teachings are “in passage” in the body of their recipient between the time they are received and the time when they have sunk in so deeply that they may be passed along. The process can take years. Lewis Hyde “The Gift” page 58

You don’t need permission to recover. If you wait for permission, you will never recover. Don’t wait. You already have permission. Think. Feel a little magic. Believe. And then begin at your recovery.

If you enjoyed this post, you will want to see some of my other writings:

Addiction: A Simple Path

Recovery and How to Approach Your Problems in a Whole New Way

To Recover, You Must Be Willing to See

I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing. If you like what I have to say, please share my work with your friends.

Lastly, if you like my writing, you can click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Citations are from “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “The Gift” by Lewis Hyde. I highly recommend that you read Big Magic and let it seep into your soul.

Photo by Janaina C. Falkiewicz

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