You aren’t the cause of all the world’s problems. You did some things you regret during your active addiction, but everyone does things they regret. Don’t let people treat you poorly today for the things you did in the past.
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s one thing to own them, but if you want to recover, you can’t grovel. You have to somehow rebuild your self-respect and focus on the positive things you’re doing for yourself – and for others! It’s time to shed the self-doubt and learn to trust in yourself again.
But how do you learn to listen to those gut feelings when they’ve betrayed you in the past? Here’s a look at three tips to get you going:
- Know Yourself
I know that some people will tell you that your “best thinking” got you here, but you weren’t thinking when you were in active addiction. Listen to your heart now that the chemical doesn’t make your choices for you.
Your own intuition is powerful. Sit quietly with yourself and listen to your anger. Hear it out. Does it throw a quick fit and dissipate? If so, perhaps this is a short-term conflict – like those little spats we all have with our best friends and family members. Or does the anger gnaw at you? Does it tell you something just isn’t right here?
- Trust Your Instincts
I remember when I was in my early teens, my mother told me to listen to my fear. If I felt unsafe somewhere, I should call her and tell her to come and get me. She’d pick me up, no questions asked, no matter what. Our deepest instincts are usually right – that’s how we learned to run away from saber tooth tigers on the savanna or wherever. My mom knew she couldn’t always be there to protect me as I grew older, so she wanted me to learn how to protect myself by listening to those deep inner signals that keep us safe.
I believe it’s the same with anger. Not the explosive, raging kind of anger that makes you throw a wine glass across the kitchen. I’m talking about the anger that bites at you in the middle of the night like a bedbug. Did someone say something truly mean and cutting to you? Did he humiliate you in public? Did she try to undermine your relationships with other friends or family members? What does your gut tell you? Listen to it closely.
- Safeguard Your Sobriety
Just like my mom couldn’t always be there to protect me as an adult, no sponsor, parent, therapist, or friend can always be there to think for you. You’re wise to ask their advice and counsel, but at the end of the day, you have to learn to protect yourself. Don’t let the fact that you had an addiction rob you of that power.
Listen to your feelings and gut instincts. Invite them in for a cup of tea and sit with them. Hear the words they say to you, the feelings they brings up in you. In active addiction, we did dangerous things. In recovery, we learn to make ourselves safe. Hearing our true inner voices is a large part of that process.
Additional Reading: Let it Out – 5 Emotional Releases That Benefit Recovery
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