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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
I was searching for something else RN-related today, and came across the Internet Archive which had the old version of RN's website. I went link-clicking through the site, and found a couple excellent old posts by CoachJon that I haven't seen anywhere on the current version of the site, so I thought I'd revive them over the next couple days on the Community board. Here's one about losing motivation to recover -- something everyone deals with throughout the process, especially early on.

Quote:
I'm Losing My Motivation to Recover

Emotional Burnout in Recovery

When people approach recovery with a euphorical high...they tend to over commit their emotional resources to its pursuit. So, rather than pursuing the beginnings of a stable, value-balanced life...they spend a few weeks...maybe a month...living, breathing and surrounding their lives with "all things recovery". It is a stabilizing feeling (at least temporarily), and one that allows them to temporarily escape the continuing reality of their value-deficient lives.

Eventually, this emotional high is reduced (due to a process called Habituation), and the emotions produced from their workshop participation (or in going to groups, or to counseling) lose their intensity. And without that immediate emotional lift...the lessons also lose their appeal. And so, the person burns out. The only way to kick start this euphoric high once more, is to create a new emotional imbalance (e.g. create chaos in their life). They may move on to yet another recovery effort; or they may proceed to further acting out; or they may attempt to focus on other unresolved issues before answers have been found to the existing issues. All of which offer them additional opportunities to achieve the emotional balance that comes from "fight or flight' action.

Looking at real life examples...

Imagine two people. One who approaches this workshop with all of the enthusiasm in the world. They openly make declarations of how committed they are to recovery, how much they are changing with each passing lesson. They inquisitively ask hundreds of questions relating to their addiction, and want to explore any and everything related to this addiction to stamp it out for good. They read a lesson on guilt and shame, for instance...and immediately do what the lesson asks them to do: they let go of their guilt and shame. They are asked to complete a lesson involving a certain topic, and do so in volumes. When they receive feedback from their coach, they accept it--without question. From day one, they are in perpetual recovery motion.

Now, this second person takes a more cautious approach. Not in how they share their feelings or in their commitment to recover, but in the way they go about their recovery. They are somewhat skeptical about each lesson. They challenge each concept in such a way as to ensure that they understand how it relates to them, before beginning to integrate it into their life. They don't ask a lot of questions, but the questions they do ask reflect a focus on integrating the skills that are being worked on. They rarely expand outside the focus of what is being learned (except when in crisis). They read a lesson like guilt and shame, and when they are asked to "let go of it"...they realize that they can't, and so they challenge this expectation. When they are asked to complete certain lessons, they do so in a targeted way--ensuring that the point of the lesson was gained, but not going out of their way to impress their coach or exhausting themselves with their effort.

Of these two individuals, which do you think stands the better chance of success in transitioning to a healthy life?

The answer, without question, is the second one. It is the person that sees this workshop as a tool to be used to help change themselves that will go on to make those changes. In the first individual, the one who appears to be the "perfect participant"...they often have innate expectations that if they do what they are supposed to do...say what they are supposed to say...that change will happen. Recovery doesn't work that way. And what is worse, once this realization is made, only a small percentage can then go back and have the courage to say, "You know what, I didn't do it right the first time, and so I'm going to go back to the areas I didn't really challenge myself with and do it right this time." The rest would rather go on "living the lie"...because it is the pattern they are used to.

When they do recognize this pattern, and go back on their own to strengthen earlier concepts, the person has moved into that second category described above...and an eventual final transition is all but assured. But until that happens, the person is on a collision course with emotional burn-out. "The workshop (or group, or counseling, or...) isn't changing me...and so I must move on to something else. Something that will provide me with renewed hope and excitement."

In order to grow, you must challenge, you must explore, you must see yourself as the center for that growth. You must recognize that all of life is, in a sense, a workshop. It is all recovery. Just as it is all a variation of health. Every day, every situation, every challenge...that is where growth comes from. Not isolated lessons.

And not to get deeply into religion, but it is a very similar process with those who attend church on Sundays, and fail to promote those values the rest of the week. In religion, God does not exist only on Sundays. He is a constant. In recovery, opportunities for growth do not occur only in this workshop. They are a constant.

So, how do you avoid Workshop Burnout? How do you avoid Recovery Burnout? By retaining a clear perception of the role that growth plays in your life. By remaining balanced and committed to long-term growth. And by understanding what you are being taught to help further that growth. Not just in this workshop, but in life. In relationships, in career development, in personal development. Begin to see each day as a new opportunity to walk yourself a little further down the path that you choose, and burnout will not happen.

The Ups and Downs of Recovery

While a healthy recovery should be progressive, it will not always be positive. There will be ups and downs. If you find yourself struggling in relation to your urges/actions, know that that is fairly common. If you find yourself struggling between the desire to act out and the desire to pursue recovery, this is not common. Not in a healthy recovery. In such a scenario, a committed decision to recover has not yet been made and so you are passively making attempts at moving forward--hoping that something catches on and your motivation somehow increases as a result. It just doesn't work that way. A true, active recovery process begins with a sincere commitment to end the destructive patterns that you are experiencing. Without this commitment, you will find yourself in the position that you're in now--lost in the acting out/wanting to stop acting out cycle.

Wanting to stop acting out is simply not enough to make a permanent change in your life. Not when we are talking about addiction. The decision to change these patterns must be in place. When this happens, you will have placed yourself in a clear position to begin such change--with boundaries being more clearly defined and your separation from the behavior itself having begun. It is hard enough for those who are committed to making a healthy transition in their lives--in terms of mustering the energy and focus required; it is nearly impossible for those who do not have a clear commitment to change. But who sits back and wait for a clear sign that change is for the better? You often cannot see such a thing from the bench...to use a baseball analogy. You have to get into the game and give it all you've got.

When people hold on to the destructive patterns in early recovery, they are most often waiting for "something better to come along" before they make the decision to give them up. They are awaiting assurances that 'it will be worth it'. Again, such an approach just doesn't work. Eventually, they may lead themselves to actual recovery--but it will most likely extend the recovery process by many years. Or many replacement behaviors.

The people who are successful in recovery, are those who no longer want to live the type of life that they are living. They don't care to tell people that they are "working on their issues"...because they are too busy working on their issues. The changes they are making are for themselves. It is these same people who proceed on in their recovery not to avoid the consequences of their past life, but because they no longer want to be associated with that past life. That is when the commitment to recovery is made. That is when it becomes clear to the participants that everything they are doing, they are doing for a purpose. And that purpose allows them to grow every single day...allows them to see every single day as an opportunity to strengthen themselves. This is what is observed in those who are successful.

What does this mean for you? It means that you need to know the truth. You need to search your heart for what you really want. Do you truly desire to live without these behaviors? Again, not the consequences of the behaviors...but live without the behaviors themselves. If you can answer "yes, you do" want to live without them...then start putting forth the effort to eliminate them from your life. That means that you put forth the effort not to engage in this behavior. And that may be painful. That may be stressful. That may be frightening. So what. The stress, pain, anxiety will not last for long...they are only emotions that you are dealing with.

Whether you are successful in managing these behaviors is irrelevant. And that is where many people get confused. It does not matter if you succeed in stopping the behavior in early recovery--what matters is that you make the sincere effort to stop it. With all of the tools that you have available to you at that moment. And which each effort to stop--be it a successful effort or not--you take away a little more experience to fight it the next time. Your tools a little more well-defined.

Where people fail though, is in convincing themselves that they have some time to play with...or that, because they are in early recovery...they have the opportunity to "act out" a few times before stopping altogether. That they can wean themselves from this behavior. That they can ride the 'up and down' recovery pattern a while longer. That's wrong. The key is to fight the urge with everything that you have available...and if you act out, to remain focused on what you did right, and what you did wrong. And then LEARN FROM BOTH. But you are the one who has to manage this process, as you are the only one who knows how honest with yourself you are being.

When you act out because you know you can get away with it, you are not getting away with it. You are prolonging the chaos in your own life. And that is your right. You have the right to live a destructive, chaotic life. Unfortunately, it often infringes on the rights of others, but that is irrelevant from an early-recovery standpoint. You have the right to continue living the way that you are living. It will be up to you to make the decision to live another way.

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:06 am
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Thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:08 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Bump. :g:

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:08 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Bump. :g:

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:05 am 
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Joined: Thu May 09, 2013 3:40 pm
Posts: 181
Thanks coachboundless. I like the very articulate way Jon has written an overview to the recovery process. it makes it clear to me and a timely reminder to myself to do all I can to recover.


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