It’s very easy to get tied up in a number of things when entering recovery. One’s first instinct is to fix everything as quickly as possible. To make everything “okay” again. This rarely works out in the way it was intended, which can often lead to a hasty return to the old life. Another mistake is that we want everybody to see that we are healed. Cured of this terrible occurrence, and ready to put the whole thing in the rearview. This usually leads to the need to hide what’s really going on behind a facade of success and good intentions. This inevitably leads to yet another relapse if not taken care of quickly, and without hesitation. One of the most prevalent offenders in the return to using that often goes overlooked is stagnancy of the mind. Boredom.
To keep the mind moving forward is a tremendous way to restore a sense of purpose in the life of the alcoholic. Another avenue in which we can find safety in recovery should NEVER be overlooked. The more things I have going for myself at any given time the better. Before I wouldn’t let myself get to involved with anything because I would be afraid of it getting taken away somehow. Distancing myself was a way to protect against anything that could take away a source of enjoyment. Which eventually meant that I enjoyed very little. Backwards , huh? I have had to relearn how to enjoy even the most trivial activities in order to stay not only sane, but also sober. That’s exactly why I’m such an advocate for creativity in recovery. There’s an unspoken outlet that needed to be filled when my source of escape was becoming detrimental to my health.
The act of creation itself, is a wonderful concept that can be exploited for a number of reasons. All of which are beneficial in one way or another. Stagnancy of the mind is the killer in this particular equation. If I were just sitting around, going to work, going to meetings, and then going home to close the night off with a fix of television, then my life would be redundant and borrrrrrrrrriiiiiing. A man much smarter than myself once told me, “Boring people get bored.” So, keeping that in mind, I have avoided being bored because of the implications behind it. I know I’m not boring, but the only person I have to prove that to is myself. Alcoholics can easily get locked into this “woe is me” downward spiral where the lack of beneficial downtime is translated into feelings of self-pity. Speaking from experience, this is a lame cop out. Nine times out of ten, this was just an excuse for me to stay comfortable in my discomfort. To successfully avoid my fear of public interaction and decimation of laziness. All of which would eventually contribute to yet another relapse.
Most in recovery do this without even being aware. If you hang around the rooms long enough you will see an increased acquiring of tattoos, actual and formulated opinions, and new contributions in the workplace. Chefs will experiment with new items, businessmen will introduce new models, retailers will see displays in new ways, and everything in between. All stemming for hazy sources of inspiration. Sobriety unlocks parts of the mind that have lied dormant for some time, allowing the alcoholic to begin to fire on unchartered cylinders. The beautiful thing about all of this is that creativity is never wrong. Execution of that new business model might not go as planned, but something is always learned. That is why I feel this is a major/overlooked part of the recovery process.
If you’re new to recovery I say this: GO OUT! Have fun. Listen to new music. Draw things you never would have before. Carry a notebook and write in it. Take photos everywhere you go. Read books. Experience life!