What’s your Why?
Victor Frankl was a psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor who wrote a book about the experience called Man’s Search For Meaning. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend you do so. Seeing what these men endured in the camps will certainly give perspective to anything we are encountering.
In the book he talks about the necessity of having a WHY for our lives, for our future. He speaks directly about how the men that survived often had some person or life work that they absolutely had to return to. Perhaps it was a spouse that was still alive or an unfinished project or book that only they could complete.
Knowing this allowed them to endure the harshest days and weeks of the camps.
Isn’t the WHY supremely important for our own lives and recovery as well? Don’t each of us need a larger vision and purpose as to why we stay on this road of recovery?
So, WHY exactly do you want to get sober? Is it primarily to get out of pain? Or are you beginning to see a compelling future with sobriety as its foundation?
If you don’t know why, you must change and restructure your life or recovery probably isn’t going to happen. But if you can enlarge that WHY and taste it and see it and feel it in your bones, then the goal is already on its way to being reached.
So, if the WHY isn’t where you want it here are some suggestions…
1) Write down 10 reasons why you MUST purse sobriety. Then review them each morning as part of your daily routine.
Why do you want this? What will you gain from it? How will life be better? Get them down on paper someplace where you can see it every day. Don’t just think about these reasons… actually write them down. Doing so will force your brain to get focused which better encodes the target you are going for.
The reasons should be felt at a heart level. We truly do need to feel them in our gut. We should want them! Keep pictures of people/places near you which will help you stay connected.
2) Visualize your future after reaching the goal.
OK, the first time I read about visualization I thought it sounded a bit hokey. That is, at least, until I actually tried it. What we know from neuroscience is that the simple act of visualizing an outcome can activate some of the same neural networks in actually doing it. That’s powerful stuff!
Take some time every day and visualize life on the other side of the goal. How much better will it be for you? Focus intently on these images and everything you sense in them. This deeper attention can affect the brain in noticeable ways. As you see in your mind where you want to go, you will be amazed at how your brain will start to help you get there.
3) Start believing (and loving!) that you are already the person you are moving towards.
So many studies have shown that who we think we are is often exactly who we become. If you are trying to obtain better health start acting “as if” you are a very healthy person. Imagine yourself as somebody who is knows for their integrity…as a great dad…as a husband who can be fully present and honest with his wife. If you think this sounds shallow or Pollyannaish please just try it. Begin acting as if you are the person you desire and some day you will be surprised at how much you have actually become that individual.
About the author:
Eric Connor, MS, LCPC, CSAT
Eric is a clinical therapist and rTribe advocate with advanced training in trauma resolution, sexual addiction and other compulsive behaviors. He is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) trained directly under Patrick Carnes and the International Institute for Trauma & Additional Professionals. Eric is the founder and director of Recover Restore Counseling and is a regular speaker on topics related to addiction, shame and codependency. He loves meeting fellow rTribers so please free to connect with him on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericconnorlcpc).