When you are diagnosed with an addiction or mental health disorder, it can feel discouraging. You know you are stuck with this for life. But to me, active addiction is the hopeless part of this journey. Chronic substance use changes your brain so that you seek a substance that no longer gives you pleasure; it’s a repetitive cycle that’s inherently hopeless.
To me, recovery is one of the most hopeful experiences. It gets you out of that cycle and gives you control over your life. It shows you how much people can change and grow. You also need at least a little optimism to even think about getting sober—to think such a big change is possible.
The Importance of Hope in Recovery
When you first get sober, you do so because you have hope that your life will improve. Sustaining optimism throughout your recovery means that you’ll want to grow. Even during high stress times, you’ll be able to envision a better future.
Activists often talk about the importance of hope. The results of any cause might not be felt for generations. The same is and isn’t true for recovery; you will feel the results of your work in recovery often, but you’re in it for the long-haul. This means that you need to sustain hope through ups and downs.
Recovery is Hopeful
Sometimes, recovery can be that source of hope. One way I bring myself out of a funk is by reconnecting to my recovery program, because many of the things I do for it are inherently hopeful. Spending time with sober and/or like-minded friends is encouraging. Being of service helps me feel connected to a larger purpose, and is hopeful for everyone involved. Meditating regularly helps with emotional regulation, and therapy is grounding.
Practicing gratitude helps create hope. It reminds you of the good things already in your life, and it can help you parse out what you still want to work towards.
Of course, simply writing a gratitude list isn’t a cure for any mental health disorder, but it’s a great tool. It also doesn’t mean repressing things that bother you or need to change; it’s about appreciating the things that make you want to move forward—or in other words, the things that give you hope.
It’s okay to feel hopeless. You don’t have to judge yourself for it. Just try to gently bring yourself back, like you might during a meditation. If you are sober, you probably never could have imagined you’d get here when you were in active addiction. That is a form of hope.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers across the country offer high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build a great life in recovery. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.