Finding Hope in Sobriety
When someone first achieves sobriety after addiction, they may feel almost completely hopeless. They might reach a point where they are emotionally and spiritually defunct, feeling empty on the inside and with nothing left to give. This can be a terrible feeling and yet even in the throes of hitting rock bottom, a piece of them may still hold onto the hope that things can change.
The Power of Hope in Recovery from Addiction
Hope is what makes 12 Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous so attractive and successful. A person with even a little shred of hope can arrive at a meeting, relate, and have that hope nurtured into faith and a new life.
A Beacon of Hope in AA
When someone attends their first AA meeting feeling lost and broken, they might look around and see smiling, happy faces, and want that in their life. People may seem to have a sense of assurance about them that is appealing. The newcomer may hope that if they do what is needed, they can have that too.
Their hope may begin to grow when meeting a sponsor because they see someone who was just like them, yet has overcome their addiction. When they share stories about their past and present, the newcomer realizes it is possible for them to change too. The more they attend meetings and talk with others in recovery, the more their hope grows. When they start to see results in their life, they know they are on the right path.
Finding Hope in the Little Things
It starts with little things like being able to fall asleep easily and staying asleep throughout the night. For many years, they may have had to pass out to fall asleep. If they hadn't consumed enough, their mind might race endlessly. These things can start to change and as the mind quiets, a feeling of peace remains. From these small little gifts, hope grows more and more. In time, they begin to envision a future for themselves.
A lack of hope is an inability to see a future for oneself. It is a feeling many people are familiar with. They might look at their life and be unable to see how they can continue or how anything could change. These feelings can lead to suicidal thoughts, as the overwhelming despair is not easily shaken.
Hope is the Difference Between Success and Failure
Being able to envision a future is the reason why hope is the difference between success and failure. It doesn't need to be a comprehensive sense of direction, but being able to see some type of future goes a long way in the recovery process. They might find that believing they can overcome addiction allows them to work toward goals and gives them the strength to push through when things get tough.
Times of struggle are usually the result of not having faith or hope that things will work out. They may get caught up in a moment or fear something will not be okay. In times like this, a drink or drug use becomes more appealing. When people relapse, it may often be because they have lost hope. They may no longer believe the 12 Steps will work for them or that even a higher power has forsaken them. Using substances becomes a viable solution when feeling this way. This is why it’s important to remain hopeful even when it’s difficult.
Sometimes they have to make themselves hopeful. When they do this often, they feel better because they are no longer focusing on negative aspects of their life. It is easy to get caught up in problems. But when they can see past them and remember there is nothing they can’t overcome, life improves.
If someone feels hopeless, it may just be a time when they are getting ready for a change. They should have faith things will work out and step out on the bridge of hope – no matter how afraid they may be.