In recovery, you will discover and develop strengths you didn't even know you had.
These strengths have been within you all along, but they've waiting for their moment to shine. Without the struggles you've been through, these strengths may have remained dormant.
These strengths can be very broad.
A few examples of personal strengths you can find within you during the recovery process include open-mindedness, bravery, curiosity and leadership.
Other strengths, discussed in more detail below, include self-awareness, responsibility, prayer or a spiritual awakening, humility and maturity.
It could be beneficial for you and your journey to document the strengths you have and the strengths you find during the recovery process.
And don't be modest.
Be proud of the strengths you have, and begin to focus on these strengths to assist yourself through the ups and downs of getting sober and staying sober.
When you are using substances, it's hard to have self-awareness.
Drugs and alcohol give you a cloudy view of reality. You may still see yourself as the person you were before you started using, when in actuality, that person disappeared a long time ago.
True self-awareness allows you to have a clear view of yourself, the good and bad of you.
A person with self-awareness is able to recognize they have a problem and has the ability to determine safe and non-safe environments.
A person in recovery who is lacking self-awareness would think it's OK to attend a party where there will be a lot of drugs and alcohol. They would not see this as a danger zone, and they would probably respond with, “I got this.”
But in fact, you could be setting yourself for failure. You have to know your limits, your triggers and the places and people to stay away from. It is encouraged in recovery to find new places, new people and new things.
Whether or not you live with addiction, you still have to take responsibility for your actions.
Refusing to take responsibility for your actions is a sure way to remain addicted.
Blaming others or giving excuses as to why you are an addict only enslaves you to addiction. You have to hold yourself accountable and begin realizing that no matter how you became addicted, it is up to you and you only to overcome your addiction.
Responsibility lies with you in your recovery.
Meditation, prayer and other spiritual practices have helped improve the mental health of many people in recovery.
Twelve-step programs use the Serenity Prayer as a mantra and as encouragement to maintain sobriety and to recognize there are some things you cannot change.
Some say this prayer has a calming effect, and having faith can help you in recovery. There's even some evidence that shows spirituality may reduce stress and improve mental health.
Humility is actually the central focus of Step 7 in the 12-step program.
Humility is a stage in recovery when you have that "aha" moment that yes, you have been part of the problem, and yes, you are a big part of the solution.
You accept that you need help to change. It is here you ask for freedom from your shortcomings so you can grow and become a better person.
Humility is not about admitting you are a failure or trying to be perfect. It is simply about admitting you have done wrong, and you are doing the work to become a better person, not a perfect person.
In regard to addiction recovery, maturity has very little to do with the age of a person. It has a lot to do with emotional growth.
Emotionally mature people do not throw tantrums when they don't get their way. They know how to delay gratification and control impulsive desires.
Some signs of an emotionally immature person include blaming others for their problems and seeming unaware of the times when they are insensitive or hurtful to others due to their self-centered perspective.
Some claim that if you can master your emotions, you can master your addiction.
So, go ahead. Start making your list of strengths.
Be honest with yourself and admit the qualities you have that are great. You can also be honest and admit the qualities you would like to have.
Set goals and create a plan to obtain other strengths.
For instance, if you want more education, make a plan to get it.
Ask yourself questions that can help you set a realistic goal, such as, "What subject do I want to study? Where can I go to learn about that subject? How will I pay for the education if payment is required? What is my deadline to reach this goal?"
Just like you set recovery goals, set strength goals.
Acquiring new strengths will be a walk in the park for you. Just look at what you have already accomplished in your recovery.
One day, when a person just starting out in their recovery asks you how you became so successful, you can start them on their strengths journey, which will be yet another strength for you.