Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Work of Recovery

Once we remove the alcohol and drugs from our lives the real work of recovery begins.

And as we start the process of living clean and sober we discover who we really are. And even though it may not be too relevant, we realize why we started using in the first place.

Many of those not in recovery – especially parents – see that we're free of drugs and alcohol and think everything's great. After all, wasn't that the goal? Get rid of the drugs and alcohol?

But for most of us the drugs and alcohol are merely symptoms of a deeper malaise, a spiritual and emotional sickness that we try to ease with chemicals. Once the chemicals are gone then we’re forced to confront these issues as part of successful recovery. And if we don't run away - and face these challenges as they arise - we’ll enjoy a successful recovery.

Among the issues we deal with is low self-esteem. Poor self-esteem is a reason many of us use drugs or alcohol. We drank and drugged so we could feel as good as we think everyone else feels.

How do we build self-esteem?  In recovery we start building self-esteem by paying attention to small accomplishments. Things like keeping our room clean. Showing up for groups on time. Not engaging in negative talk. Working out. Being supportive of others . Being kind to our family. All of these small things are building blocks for improving self-esteem for those of us who start out on the bottom.

Ideas for improving self-esteem can be found at Psychologist Nathaniel Brandon’s website.   

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