You know what is pretty rad about life? You have the chance to become whomever you want to be. I know, if you’re like me it might feel impossible to mold and shape who you are. Especially when you’re in the throws of addiction. I used to be skeptical too. Just the words, “be whomever you want to be” sound incredibly vapid, until you take a chance and see yourself shift and change and realize that the words aren’t empty at all. They are in fact some of the more profound and simple reassurances you’ll hear. We are often told the myth that you can’t help who you are. To some extent that may be true. Often though people feel like someone different on the inside and can’t figure out how to be that person externally. You can do something about that.
Get Sober To Know Yourself Before You Change Yourself
You have to get to know yourself before it is constructive to change anything. How can you change what you don’t understand or know? I am not sure we can ever fully understand ourselves, but you can get closer. One way you can do that is to be sure you are fully detoxed before you try to analyze yourself too closely. Addiction can really alter our behavior. The most important thing is your health and safety. If you are struggling with Alcohol addiction, symptoms of withdrawal from Oxycodone, or any kind of substance abuse complication, please get help. Our Pompano drug rehab can offer you residential detox and drug rehabilitation. We want to help you with a treatment plan created for your individual needs.
Intentional Attention & Tracking
After you’re sober, you’ll find that your life is more malleable than you thought before.
The way to start getting to know yourself so that you can shape who you are is to pay attention. Intentionally start tracking your moods to see how your body’s brain chemicals react to different situations. As you do this you will see patterns. You will find triggers and understand better why you react positively and why you react negatively to certain situations.
Patience is Key
As you track your patterns remember, this takes persistence and consistency. If you track for a day or two, you’re not going to see the patterns you need to understand yourself and the learned responses that have become like instinct. Sometimes self evaluation and growth feels like the most winding road. You may find patterns that disappoint you. You may find it easy to want to hate yourself for the way you find yourself responding or acting in the face of a challenging moment, but I want to challenge you to have patience with yourself. Keep in mind that up until you were sober, you were probably running on survival coping skills. When you aren’t physically or consciously able to directly deal with trauma, often our subconscious employs coping mechanisms. Especially with people who have PTSD, or other deep trauma related mental health complications, these survival mechanisms may be the only way your psyche has survived thus far. Do not be hard on yourself. You’re not tracking your emotions as a way to diagnose problems or to find reasons to hate yourself, you’re tracking them to find ways to be more yourself. You are doing it to find those coping mechanisms that have served you so well, keeping you going thus far, through the trauma, but that you no longer need. You can exchange those with the healthy emotional processing techniques and strategies that you discover work for you.
Like any beautiful and complex project, this one is not an overnight success. You have to be patient with yourself. Not only when you are tracking your emotions and actions, but when you try to make a change. No one can shift habits overnight. Give yourself some patience. It took years to lay the groundwork for the way your network of synapses and pathways move in your mind. It won’t likely take as long to alter change those habits when you’re doing so intentionally, but it does take some brain training.
Training The Brain
You’ve been writing in your journal and tracking your moods and situational reactions, and you know your first goal. Now what? How do you get from “I want to be calmer when someone provokes me” to “I am calm when someone provokes me.”?
You have to start by reminding yourself that the only way you will succeed in this process is by leaving your self judgement at the door. It’s not giving yourself a break, it’s realizing that nothing good comes out of beating yourself up. Realizing that there is no “good” or “bad” here. Your body and brain do what is necessary to survive. Look at each destructive pattern as something that sustained you when you needed it to. Give it your gratitude, and then consciously begin enacting your change. You won’t always remember to slow down, walk away and meditate for a few minutes when being provoked, or whatever your goal is, but if you make it a priority to think about and even write about each day, you’ll find yourself remembering steadily and then it will eventually become your habit. It may take some time, but you’ll be amazed at how much, just paying attention, without judgement, and prioritizing one project at a time can help you become the person on the outside that you feel like on the inside.
Article posted on August 23, 2018