Recovery is an Inside Job

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Recovery is an Inside Job

In any 12 step program you attend it’s likely that you will hear over and over again, that recovery is an inside job. The first time we heard it, we were either terrified or we were still in denial, so it went in one ear and out the other. It terrified us because the inside is probably the last place we’d ever think to look. When we got here our insides were in absolute shambles.

In active addiction, most of us rejected ourselves on a deep level. Deep down we loathed who we were. We made reality unclear and we constantly numbed ourselves with drugs. We could not fathom the thought of sitting in our own skin for 2 minutes. Sitting in your own skin without drugs was absolutely dreadful. Some of us took drugs we didn’t even like just so we didn’t have to feel that. Only addicts and alcoholics believe we can get something out of our body by putting something into our body. Drugs were our solution, so if drugs were our solution, what was our problem? We found that we (ourselves) were our problem…

As recovering addicts and alcoholics, we are programmed to think that we can find relief in things outside of ourselves, just like we did with drugs. After we crashed and burned with the drugs, a lot of us pick up gambling, shopping, sex or food. We still think if I just have these clothes, or these shoes, or this girl or that guy or this car or that house that everything will be okay but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It wasn’t the outsides that were hurting when we got here…it was the insides.

The first step is the only one that talks about drugs and alcohol. Steps 2 through 12 work on us! As we work the steps with a sponsor. We find ourselves responding to situations rather than reacting to them. We find ourselves viewing the world through an entirely different lens. Honesty, peace, serenity, integrity and spiritual principles suddenly become part of our vocabulary and more importantly our new way of life. The steps change us. There’s no way we could possibly put honesty, open-mindedness, integrity, morals into ourselves. The steps change our hearts. Doing the internal work promotes external action and recovery is a program of action…