With upwards of 15,000 substance abuse treatment facilities in the U.S., it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you or a loved one. One of the best ways to choose the right treatment program is to consider the facilities certifications. A seal of approval from the Joint Commission (JCAHO) is considered the highest award available
As addicts, drugs and alcohol take over our actions, as well as our thoughts. The “great obsession” of using liquefies any desire to pursue interests that we either used to love or might find enriching to our lives. Refreshed and renewed, many of us feel the overwhelming need to replenish our desires with healthy actions. And this is where the concept of a new #drugofchoice is formulated.
Our 12-step fellowship provides a roadmap to uncover the reasons for our addiction. In our 4th step, we list with complete abandon an inventory of our resentments, fears and defects of character, connecting the dots between our pattern of behavior and our addiction. This self-cleanse allows us to bear witness to all of our deepest ailments and then enables us to let them go and work on our defects in the future. It takes courage to dig into our disease and let that become a part of our growth. Recovering addicts are given strength through their vulnerability when they admit their personal faults and actively work on them.
This process relieves us of the things that are holding us back from discovering our true passions. Now, with a renewed sense of self and clarity, there is no better time to discover your true potential. In reading through a number of books on life, awareness and happiness, I realized that many of them encouraged positive personal identification, which included things like skills, natural born talents, character traits and passions. I found myself surprised that I there was no worksheet on taking a positive inventory to identify personal qualities, outlining how one could offer their gifts to the world and pursue their passions in life.
This notion struck a nerve because I believe many of us identify, both prior to and after getting sober, with a fear of the future. In truth, how exactly can we have energy and optimism for the future if we have not identified a path to walk toward it?
You may ask yourself: What is my calling? What are my dreams? How can I ever achieve them? How do I deal with life now? We’ve won the lottery by finding recovery. In many ways we have been “reborn”. We’ve also been granted time and mental space to work on what we most desire. Think about how much better your sobriety will be if you put energy into your dreams and goals? Now that is a great way to create a positive foundation in recovery.
You owe it to yourself to discover your passion and purpose. You can start today with an exercise I’ll call a “Reverse 4th Step”. List the personal attributes you value which strengthen your character and what you can offer the world. Start by making lists of these qualities by following this simple guide:
List the talents you are born with (your natural abilities, aptitudes)
List skills that you have developed or mastered (sports, technologies, art, singing)
List your education & experiences that have made you uniquely specialized (training, travel, etc.)
List your character traits of the spirit (courageous, empathetic, optimistic, grace under pressure)
List your top, most memorable accomplishments (winning a race, best-in-class)
List your values (family, honesty, freedom)
Next, discover your passion and purpose. Most people don’t know what their passion and purpose is because they have never tried to figure it out. You can begin reaching your dreams by first writing them down. According to Dave Kohn, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, people who regularly write down their goals earn 9x as much over their lifetimes as the people who don’t. Make this list positive, specific and measurable. You would be amazed at how attainable your dreams are if you take the time to identify your ambitions.
By connecting your natural abilities and character traits with the things you are passionate about, you can pursue goals in your life that align with your real purpose. For example, if you are a naturally gifted skier and have a high level of patience, perhaps becoming a ski instructor would be a well suited job for you. Maybe you are extremely good under pressure and love high-energy. You might want to consider a profession in an emergency room or trauma center. If travel is a passion of yours and you’re an excellent writer, decide to embark on a travel blog and share your experiences with the world.
If you follow your passion money and success will naturally follow, not the other way around. The same goes for your journey in sobriety. While identifying our character defects helps us work on being better people in the future, focusing on our character traits can help us pursue the dreams of our innermost soul. Think of your life ahead as an empty canvas: visualize life’s coming attractions by identifying your unique traits and by setting goals because possibilities, adventure, accomplishment, contribution and happiness are waiting.
Music can be a powerful tool in recovery, in minutes touching the epicenter of our emotional core. They can elicit feelings of the past, of good and bad days gone by, or give us hope for the future. But ultimately, the right ones take us right were we need to be: eliciting the healing powers of a good beat and solid lyrics. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite songs to listen to for those who are struggling with addiction and those who have embraced a life of recovery.
1. Starting Over, Macklemore
The superstar, who is known for making powerfully written music with messages that hit our pop culture hard, released “Starting Over” to document his own experience with relapse. His lyrics document a truth for many addicts who attempt to get sober: that recovering from relapse is a hard pill to swallow and a tough road to walk down. For anyone struggling with relapse, this is a song rich with hope, as Macklemore famously says, “If I can be an example of getting sober, then I can be an example of starting over.”
2. It’s Been A While, Stained
Released in 2001, this chart topper doesn’t explicitly mention addiction except in 1 line. However, the message in the song most definitely relates to those in early recovery. The songwriter, Aaron Lewis, tells the story of someone reflecting on their past, living in regret and depression for their thoughts, feelings and actions. The song sheds light on many of the difficult feelings and consequences addicts face in early recovery after the absence of drugs and alcohol have made them feel again, a unique standpoint we haven’t seen in many other songs.
3. Breathe Me, Sia
Before Sia became the international pop star that we know her as today, she released the song “Breathe Me” in 2004, which you may have heard. This powerful song relates most with addicts who are in the midst of their disease, feeling lonely, weak and incapable of escaping themselves. So many people who need recovery fall into what seems like an endless circle of addiction, continually starting back at square 1. The lyrics are also relatable to those who suffer from other afflictions like food addiction and self-harming.
4. Everyone’s On It, Lilly Allen
Leave it to Lilly Allen to talk about a controversial issue: the prevalence of drug addiction, and twist it into a catchy euro-pop song. We love it! She gets right to the issue, explaining how drug dependency is affecting everyone both old and young, rich and poor. Allen sings “Why can’t we all just be honest. Admit to ourselves that everyone’s on it, from grown politicians to young adolescents, prescribing themselves anti-depressants”. She uses this song more specifically to exploit the reality that so many people are enabled to use prescription medication. Allen, who has very publicly had her own problems with addiction, makes this in-your-face jingle catchy with lines like “See your daughter’s depressed we’ll get her straight on the Prozac. But little do you know, she already takes crack”.
5. Hate Me, Blue October
This song, released in 2006, is completely unique in its message from the other songs we have on our list. It begins with a recording from the songwriter’s mother at the peak of his addiction, genuinely concerned for his wellbeing and coming from a place of love. His well-written words illustrate the grief we feel for our loved ones who suffer alongside us both during addiction and in recovery.
6. If The Breakman Turns My Way, Bright Eyes
The lead singer of Bright Eyes writes many songs about his struggles with addiction and experiences in recovery. This low key song elusively tells a story of listening to your inner voice and leaving for a place of respite and recovery from your daemons. Also, we think there is a unique correlation to the saving power of going to treatment. Lines like “All this automatic writing I have tried to understand, from a psychedelic angel who was tugging on my hand.
It’s an infinite coincidence but it doesn’t form a plan. So I’m headed for New England or the Paris of the South. Gonna find myself somewhere to level out”, make this one of our favorite unknown songs of recovery.
7. I’m Not Afraid, Eminem
We couldn’t complete our list without listing at least 1 seriously positive song about life in recovery, since after all achieving sobriety is one of the most positively life altering accomplishments one can attain. Also, we couldn’t end without announcing one of our favorite artists in recovery, Eminem. There are quite literally dozens of songs we could have chosen from any of his 8 albums, including his 2010 album titled “Recovery”. But we chose this song because of its positive message about the strength and support of the recovery community as well as a message of relief from the obsession of addiction that is achieved through a program of recovery.
Music is an extremely therapeutic tool for early recovery. In fact, some well-known artists have joined forces to build the movement “Rockers In Recovery”, a group of sober musicians who work together to spread the word of recovery through their music, hosting concerts throughout the country. To learn more about the organization or to catch one of their upcoming concerts, visit them at http://www.rockersinrecovery.org/.
For more information about The Hope Center for Recovery, and to learn about the unique therapy we offer including music therapy, call one of our team members 1.866.233.1869.
The Hope Center for Rehabilitation offers a full range of services both leading up to, during and following treatment, including professional interventions, a luxury, medically assisted detox program, inpatient rehabilitation (30-90 days), intensive out-patient rehabilitation and out-patient services. Each of our clients become a part of our alumni program at the completion of their treatment to help foster a continued community of recovery.