All change starts with a thought. In recovery from addiction, the thought of hope is often the force that motivates people enough to start making concrete changes. Hope reminds us that the uncomfortable and unbearable are temporary. Hope reminds us that the we can try again tomorrow. Hope is the basis upon which all major changes rest. If there wasn’t a belief that life could get better, people would never begin the process of recovery. With so many paths towards a life of recovery, the importance of hope is one of the few constants for any recovery plan.
In the midst of addiction, hope can be difficult to find. The struggle to find and experience hope is often what keeps people in addiction. The importance of believing that things can get better is clear, but where do we find hope? When the world is dark, finding the light switch is a challenge. But if you make finding the switch a priority, it can be found.
Below are three ideas for starting to explore and experience the concept of hope in early recovery.
Figure out what hope really means for you. What has inspired hope for you in the past? What are you hopeful about currently? With addiction, when did you first experience hope? When does it slip away, and what causes it? How do you get hope back? How might a daily practice of eliciting hope look? What could get in your way of experiencing hope? If you want hope in your life, you must define it to experience it.
Looking Towards the Future
Thinking about how you want your life to look is a powerful tool for harnessing hope. When you envision the perfect future, what do you see? Who’s there with you? How do you know that you’re happy? Explore future goals and experiences that you’ve yet to have. When you know how you want the future to look, motivation can begin to build and hope is born. There’s still time to experience so much beauty in life; make a plan to find it. Build feelings of excitement and anticipation for how good life can be.
Exploring Spirituality and Connection
Many people find hope through the idea of something greater than themselves, whether through religion, spirituality, nature, human kindness, or family. What rings true for you? When do you feel connected, and how can you bring more of that feeling into you daily life? By recognizing that you’re not the end-all-be-all of human experience and don’t have all the answers, it becomes more evident that help is both necessary and available. When we experience something greater than ourselves, we feel inspired and connected. And through inspiration and community comes hope.
-Written By Clinical Director, Emily Keefer, LCSW, ADS