A NEW BEGINNING
Having reached a point of surrender, Dan was willing to try a new approach to life in order to sustain a chemically free, more purposeful life. During a meditation on forgiveness, he had a powerful inner experience that gave him a real sense that unconditional love and acceptance were available to him. By doing exercise, spending time in nature and practising Mindfulness Meditation his sense of inner connection and spirituality were strengthened. Mindfulness practice also helped him gradually develop greater frustration tolerance and the capacity to regulate his emotions more effectively. Having reached the point of surrender, he was sufficiently open-minded to try new ways of relating to himself, others and a higher power of his understanding. He also received hope and guidance from others who had trodden a similar path of self-destruction, but who were further along the road of recovery than he was.
His identity was in the process of changing from that of an angry, shame-based using addict living a double life, isolated from himself, others and the world, to someone in recovery, more connected to himself, others and a higher power. His ability to get honest with himself and others started to restore his sense of self-worth, although he needed to continue his therapeutic process for some time after he left treatment. As someone who had grown up in a family affected by addiction, he needed to do more inner work to safely reprocess early traumatic experiences and to reclaim access to his vulnerabilities and repressed memories and feelings. Gradually this process helped him become a stronger, more authentic and com- passionate human being.
Dan continues to work his programme within the fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and spends a little time every day on meditation and reading. His partner also attends a support group to help her recover from the consequences of Dan’s active addiction and continues to work on her co-dependent tendency to try and control everyone and everything in her life. Dan has been out of the treatment programme for 14 months, and although ‘life on life’s terms’ is not always easy, he generally feels grateful for where he is at and values the self-respect that comes from having no secrets from himself or others.