An important part of the recovery process is letting go of individual will power. An “I can do it myself” attitude stands in the way of recovery. Developing relationships with others who have already overcome the power of drugs and alcohol makes a new way of life possible. People who are struggling with substance abuse make countless vain attempts to manage their drinking or drug use on their own. They may quit for a period of time, only to return to their old habits and discover that their dependence on substances has grown worse. They may make a schedule for themselves – drinking or using only on weekends, for example – only to realize that they have trouble coping with withdrawal symptoms. They cannot wait until Friday rolls around so they can have some relief from their anxiety, agitation, irritability and feelings of nausea. In other words, the “do-it-yourself” method fails time and time again. On the other hand, reaching out to people in recovery, therapists and counselors offers the support and comfort needed to develop new habits.

Changing Your Attitude in Recovery

Almost everyone, including people who do not suffer from addiction, fears the unknown. We take comfort in the familiar, even if it is not beneficial. Making a change takes courage. Fear of trying a new behavior often creates life-threatening situations. For example, fear of leaving a violent, abusive spouse often keeps people in a marriage that could result in fatal harm. Likewise, fear of facing the shame and guilt of substance abuse prevents people from seeking recovery. Willingness to reach out for help is the first step in creating new attitudes and developing new ideas. Learning from others who have broken through fear and have practiced new skills builds confidence. Letting go of old habits and establishing new ones takes time, but others who have done it serve as an example. Taking advantage of group recovery programs and professional treatment makes all the difference.

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