Recovery Sequels: Starring in the Next Installment

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 16th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Recovery & Coping

While the show must go on, and you are the star, the dialogue, responses and outcomes can change. Recovery gives an opportunity to revisit the stage and act better.

Been There, Done That, Pawned the T-shirt

If you find yourself thinking, “I've been here before”, when you find yourself in similar situations in your recovery, reflect on your past outcomes. The next step is to decide if your actions prompted positive or negative outcomes. Ask yourself this simple question: “Did I like my outcomes last time?”

This Feels Familiar

If you continue to get the same outcomes, even with different people and situations, then it is time to look at the one common denominator – you. The first time my mentor said that to me, I took offense at his comment. I thought, how dare he, he has no idea what I have been through in my life. Yet, 25 years later, I am writing it for you to examine. Not to irritate you or criticize you; nonetheless, some of you will feel resentful.

However, if you get beyond the feelings, think about it logically, if you do not like the outcomes of past situations, what can you change within you to attract different results? Realistically, there will be similar situations in your early recovery.

For instance, someone in your office asks you to review a report. In the past, you would have brushed them off complaining about all that you had to do, hoping that they did not inconvenience you so you could meet friends at the bar as soon as possible. Then you needed some help with some of your own work, and there was no one that was willing to assist you.

In your recovery, you have the opportunity to do something differently like change your priorities and lend a hand to others, knowing that you will need help at some point as well.

Change: From – To

I like specifics, how to do something all orderly arranged, “who done its” and neat packages. So when I received the vague, “You need to change” to get different outcomes from my mentor, my first response was irritation. Finally, I ask if there were four important categories of things to change within me to affect outcomes. I got this list:

• Behaviors
• Communication Style
• Motives

I still thought the response was too general, so I asked him for definitive aspects or characteristics to change. He gave me a list of common self-defeating attitudes and said I should pick four that applied to me; preferably, ones that I knew resulted in less than favorable results and outcomes.

It was not hard to decide which attitudes I needed to change; people in my life had commented on some negative attitudes that I demonstrated; therefore, I started with them. While your negative attitudes might be different, learning its opposite quality points you in the right direction. This simple exercise worked for me twenty-five years ago, and I believe it will work for you today.

Attitudes Influences Behaviors

Next, I looked at how my attitude influenced my behaviors. Again, I was looking for patterns of behaviors with the intention of changing them for the opportunity at something different.

Rather than compare mine to yours to find differences, think about how your attitude causes and drives your behaviors to help you structure this exercise specifically for you.

Negative Attitudes and Behaviors Influence Communication

Some of us speak in ways that will illicit negative outcomes; we might come across as condescending, a know it all, rude or unkind. Often, our impatience to get to the bar showed up in our conversations with people; we did not listen, rushed the conversation to a conclusion, or seemed indifferent. We falsely believed that some people, usually family, would automatically tolerate our communication style.

Here too, reflecting on how you communicate with people gives you another opportunity to change. With these additional changes in communication style, you will reduce the number of times that your outcomes are negative.

What Drove Me to Think, Act and Communicate As I Did?

Mainly, my motive for my use was to change the way I felt. I could not be bothered to be responsible, demonstrate a satisfactory work ethic, or take other people’s opinions or needs into account. Consumed with fears, I was anxious the majority of the time, primarily about people questioning me regarding my use of pills and alcohol. These fears and other motives made dealing with me difficult and created the outcomes.

How Do Successful People Handle Similar Situations?

When I isolated the attitudes, behaviors, communication style and motives, I knew that I was the problem; and if I were going to be successful in my recovery, I should change more than not using drugs and alcohol. Since I was uncertain what else might need changing, I looked at the resources that were available. I went to some co-workers, made amends and asked for their input and guidance.

It felt strange to begin with; asking the same people I had dismissed if they would share with me how they were successful in life. I acknowledged that I had not paid attention to their attitudes, behaviors and communication styles before, but I wanted to change. I was pleasantly surprised that when I demonstrated interest, the majority of the people were willing to help.

I decided that learning how to do things differently was going to be a priority in my recovery, as I did not want the same negative outcomes. In addition, I asked my mentor what he did to create a meaningful, fulfilling and rewarding life in recovery. He laughed and said that success usually comes after a failure, however, successful people do not repeat the same mistakes and that means that they change their approach, attitude, behaviors or communication style.

He also believed that successful people did the following:

1. They process and evaluate what has transpired. Using the charts as an example and inserting your own attitudes, behaviors, communication style and motives will help you evaluate your past outcomes and change.

2. They look at why something fell apart or they look for their self-defeating patterns and do something differently the next time. When we are looking for self-defeating aspects of ourselves, what we discover is embarrassing, and for the most part, we do not like what we see in our early recovery and may think that by not looking at it, we can avoid it.

If you find that you are reluctant to look at yourself and change, answer these questions, they may help you turn that embarrassment into encouragement for change:

• What can you anticipate if you stay the same?
• What would prompt you to examine yourself – the opportunity to change or the threat of staying the same?
• What can you learn about yourself when you take the time to examine your life?
• What would be a benefit for you in this type of examination?
• Might an examination of yourself help you change?
• Can you anticipate feeling proud of yourself if you bring about these changes within yourself?

Sequels Can be Better

In the movies, sequels are not always the best of the books or movies; however with changes in your attitude, behaviors, communication style and motives, I believe that you have an opportunity to turn the predictable around – your sequels in recovery may far exceed the original and give you better outcomes.

I knew that changing the attitudes would start the process of changing behaviors and communication styles. What attitude, behaviors, communication style and motives can you change today that will positively influence your outcomes?

How Your Recovery Can Help Others

Each person has a unique perspective on addiction and recovery. If you want to write about your experiences and provide well-written articles to help others, consider joining Wiklnut. It may just be your experiences that encourages someone else to embrace recovery.

For additional articles on Addiction and Recovery by Marilyn Davis

All images by Marilyn Davis for TIERS


Addiction Recovery, Addicts And Change, Changing In Recovery, Recovery From Addiction, Recovery Opportunities, Recovery Options

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
16th Jul 2014 (#)

Good evening, Steve; thank you for the quick moderation and star. Hope you are doing well. ~Marilyn

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author avatar snerfu
17th Jul 2014 (#)

Hello Ms MarilynDavisatTIERS, change is imminent when one persists, but many of us need need help. You have beautifully brought out the relationship between persistence and self-evaluation. Makes good reading.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Snerfu; excellent point - persistence is such a necessary component in change. We don't usually do well the first few times we try a new thing and too many people give up. Thank you for the addition to the subject. ~Marilyn

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author avatar snerfu
18th Jul 2014 (#)

We need people who are writing on this topic. That is why I go through your articles. It opens a different perspective to life.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Snerfu; thank you very much for reading the articles. Although they are written from an addiction/recovery perspective initially, they do have practical application for anyone struggling with change or choices. Thank you for your comments. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mariah
17th Jul 2014 (#)

Admirably written and presented to perfection, you are inspirational in your efforts Marilyn.. TY

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mariah; what a kind thing to say. I do hope that others realize that we can all make changes in our lives - the attitudes, behaviors, and our communication style. When our motive is to come from love rather than fear, many things are possible. Thank you for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
17th Jul 2014 (#)

This is an amazing page Marilyn.
I shall come back and reread later to digest it better.
Many blessings
Stella ><

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
17th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Stella; thank you as always for your interest and comments. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
18th Jul 2014 (#)

Your sharing of so much profound wisdom benefits many of us here...thank you Marilyn ...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Carolina; thank you. I do hope that people don't think I'm lecturing though. I just know that many of the solutions that helped me in my early recovery continue to help me in other life situations above and beyond my addiction, so I hope people can relate the solutions to their own lives; your comment helps confirm that may be the case. Thanks again. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Jul 2014 (#)

Been there, done that - is reflected in your page. Attitude matters more than anything in life. Thanks Marilyn - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
28th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva; although I'm certainly not proud of the ways I behaved and communicated, they do serve as a possible lesson for others. Thanks for the observation. ~Marilyn

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