An approach to addiction recovery that is empowering does not accomplish that goal without some hard work. Recovery takes a lot of little steps to add up to big victories. People who do not work towards empowerment may end up getting stuck or stagnant in their recovery growth. It is helpful to have goals and write them down. Growth is not linear, nor is it a curved line that goes up and up and up. Self-empowerment is part of the healing journey of recovery that has ups and downs and places where people get stuck or feel like they backpedal. It is all part of the journey of finding oneself in recovery.
AA’s Recovery Steps and Empowerment
The first step in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is to admit powerlessness over the substance. This may be alcohol, opioids, heroin, or many other types of substances. When people realize they may not survive their addiction if they keep going, they decide it is time to change. If a loved one decides to leave the relationship unless things change, this might propel a person to take steps to admit powerlessness over the substances they use. To get control of substance use means a person is empowering their own choice to overcome denial and seek help. This is a powerful first step, and necessary, for growth to begin.
The Goal of Self-Empowering Recovery
Self-empowering recovery has a goal to gain power and capacity. The powerlessness people feel in addiction takes away their decisions. It makes them focus solely on addiction and not on recovery. The focus is on substance use, not the person themselves. Although in a self-empowering approach past decisions are looked at, the goal is to make better decisions. When someone makes better decisions and is able to navigate their healing journey better, they feel like they are in more control of themselves and their lives. The key is to discover what will motivate them to keep going and find hope in the midst of these challenges. There are some key ways to set some goals by asking the right questions to drive motivation.
Seek Motivation to Change
Having a purpose is one key element of empowerment. Hitting bottom is suggested as a moment of change, but it typically occurs when someone hits a low they never hit before. When the realization of what they can lose hits them, they become motivated to change. When the realization of their career is on the line, they are motivated to change. The motivation has to be internal, not external, for it to stick.
Don’t Change for Others
The motivation to change that is self-empowering is for that person and nobody else. It is fine if others are involved but not to please others. Individuals engage in wishful thinking and underestimate the recovery process. To sustain a long-lasting recovery, it is required people to change in the process and don’t ask more of others than they ask of themselves. Other people, including family and loved ones, will want someone to change because it is their desire. The person has to want to change for themselves. Self-empowerment gives a person back their voice and authority over their own lives and helps them create a space where they feel healing is possible. There is nothing so hard a person cannot overcome it if they so desire. Sometimes the power of addiction makes it seem less that way, but to change for oneself means recognizing there is the power and ability to make those changes without worrying about what others think.
Triggers and Coping Mechanisms
Self-empowering change means having the right tools to cope with cravings and urges. When someone understands they cannot walk into certain places without being triggered, they can understand themselves better. This helps them feel more empowered to make healthy life choices. In building confidence to cope with craving, a person may need to build their ability to cope with related challenges. Willpower is about long-term goals but working through short-term distractions that take away from those goals. Willpower helps battle back against addiction.
A Life of Purpose
Ultimately, self-empowerment is about building a life of purpose. Meaningful activity is a reason for living and getting to live out personal values and goals are important parts of the human experience. People who live a life of purpose are more likely to grow in recovery than those who struggle to find purpose. To find meaning in life and recovery means writing down some personal goals and striving toward them one at a time. A meaningful life comes from pursuing what matters to that person, which may change over time. The key is to track what is significant now and move towards that.
Recovery Means Change
Confidence and self-empowerment go hand-in-hand. People can observe them be experienced in their lives of significance where they act on their capacity for long-term interests to be achieved. Without confidence, it is hard to move ahead. People in the community can support an individual’s journey but they should also be seeking intrinsic support from themselves to keep going. They need to keep wanting to grow and change in recovery. This is an important part of the journey of healing.
Forge is a place to come and recover your life from addiction. We help you reimagine what is possible and create the life you’ve been dreaming of.
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