Hope is, without a doubt, an integral piece of the addiction recovery process. Many if not most people experiencing addiction to drugs or alcohol eventually find themselves without hope somewhere down the road, but luckily, it is something that can again be found, can be cultivated, and can be used to one’s advantage to help break free of the destructive patterns of substance abuse. Hopelessness is a very dark and dangerous place, but once hope is reignited within, further steps can be taken to regain one’s health, freedom, and happiness in the battle against addiction, or in any battle we as humans face.
Hope is difficult to define. If you ask ten people what hope means to them, you will likely get examples rather than definitions – and these ten examples will vary immensely. In relation to addiction recovery, hope can be defined as a desire to recovery, and a look towards the future life the addicted individual wants to lead in the future. Hope is not simply a wish, or a prayer. It is not merely being optimistic. Although hope is a feeling and an emotion, it is not that alone; it is what comes hand in hand with a decision to make steps towards a change.
When addicted to drugs or alcohol, it hard to believe that recovery is even possible. After years clouded by substance abuse, it’s difficult to imagine that life can be any other way. In many cases, substance abusers don’t even believe they deserve the happiness that will come along with sobriety, and they instead remain bound by the vicious cycle of addiction.
However, when hope is introduced into the equation, and individual can see the light of possibility. Once even a glimmer of hope appears, it is possible to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the addicted person begins to see that there is, in fact, something more to life than his or her addiction. That tiny fragment of hope can be nurtured and encouraged, and through care and various strategies can be made to grow. Soon, it will become a cornerstone of recovery for someone who is suffering, and will become a support upon which to lean throughout the process.
Hope can and does give people strength to carry on and move forward down a difficult path fraught with obstacles. Even when the going gets tough, hope can act as a beacon to follow though the darkest of times.
Hope Comes First
Finding hope is truly the first step in the recovery process. When things are dark, it can be very hard to find even a shred of hope for the future. It is always there, though – you just have to find it. Once hope is found and captured, motivation will follow. Once motivation is there, action will follow. Action leads to change, and change is the biggest part of any addiction recovery program. Without hope, there is no motivation, no action, and no change. But once you begin working through the process, each thing naturally follows the other. Hope is where you begin.
How to Cultivate Hope
Deep in the throes of addiction, it may seem impossible to simply find or cultivate hope – but it is possible. Certain strategies can help to ignite hope within oneself, but in order to keep hope strong throughout a difficult process, they must be revisited frequently.
One of the best ways to build hope is through listing to the success stories of others. Support groups are founded upon this idea. In seeing the positive results other people have experienced when overcoming challenges similar to yours, it is much easier to see the possibilities of the future. Unfortunately, many people experience addiction, but many people overcome it, too. Support groups, and especially counseling with a therapist or counseling who has beat addiction him or herself, are both ways to see that others in the same situation as you were able to move on, move forward, and recover. In seeing their lives after addiction, even the most hopeless can see that it is truly possible to come out okay on the other side.
Another thing that can help you to cultivate hope is to make plans for the future. Working towards goals that you have set for yourself can be a great motivator in making changes in your life. When there is no picture of the future in your mind, its almost as if there is no future. Once you begin to develop ideas about your hopes and dreams, there is something on your path for which to reach. Making an actual plan to reach these goals once your sobriety is on track can even give you further hope.
Positive affirmations and visualizations about you future can help create hope within you as well. Making statements daily to yourself about your dream future in a way that makes you feel that your goals have already been achieved can be very powerful. Followers of the concept of the Law of Attraction have found great successes through these methods.
Finally, accepting your current situation and embracing change can be yet another way to cultivate change. Accepting the things you cannot change and changing the things you can are foundational parts of many recovery programs. Take time to evaluate where you are now and where you would like to be in several weeks, several months, and several years. Make realistic goals about you recovery process and reach for them; this is only possible by beginning from a place where you accept who you are now, and who you want to become.
People who are hopeless are people who have given up entirely, so by finding even a little spark of hope, you are already on the right path. To stay hopeful, seek out friends and family members who will always support you when you new glimmer of hope becomes obscured or briefly difficult to see. Many recovery programs recommend finding a higher power to turn to in difficult times as well, but that higher power does not necessarily need to be based on religious beliefs; instead, simply going out and enjoying nature and being reminded that the world and universe is far bigger than ourselves may be awe-inspiring enough to help you continue to be hopeful. Consistently refer back to the reasons you want to change and remind yourself why they are important to you. Reflect on your past, and look towards the future. In times of intense struggle, remember to practice self-care. Meditate, exercise, journal, get enough rest, and spend time with people you love.
Although in the darkest times, it is hard to find even a tiny piece of hope – but you must. It is vital. Know that with hope, things can and will improve and that you and you alone have the power to make that happen. There are many paths to change, and all of them have obstacles along the way – but with hope, you are on the right path. Find it, embrace it, and begin moving forward.
It’s imperative that you or your loved one gets clean and sober immediately, and we are here to help. At Clear Sky Recovery, we offer ibogaine treatment at our facility in Cancun, Mexico. Ibogaine detox has been called a form of “addiction interruption,” and can be extremely helpful to anyone wanting to start moving on a clean and healthy, drug free path. Our intake specialists are standing by to answer your questions. Please call us today.