The Difference Between Identity and Identifying in Recovery
Identity plays a significant role in both addiction and recovery. Learn more about the difference between identity and identifying in recovery.
Here is one of the ways I learned about the price of change. A couple of years ago, I hired a personal trainer to help me with the revolving door relationship I have with twenty pounds. He was not hired to be my best friend, my ego booster, my excuse maker, or my guru. He was hired to kick my butt far beyond what I was willing to do on my own or thought myself capable of.
He had a number of catchy phrases and quips that he used to snap at me as I would groan and come in and out of consciousness.
“Pain is just weakness leaving the body!” he barked.
I countered that with, “No! I’m pretty sure that pain is the result of my dislocated shoulders after those last two military presses!”
“If you want what we have, you’ll do what we do!” was another one. Okay, I thought, maybe I’ll settle for half the abs at half the price. Nothing really wrong with a well toned three-pack, is there?
“C’mon! How badly do you want it?” he’d bellow. “Not half as much as I’d like to kick your…” As if that would have even been an option.
We eventually reached my goal weight, but not without a major falling out.
One day, after another halfhearted workout and a couple of weeks completely blowing my food plan, he sat down across from me, leaning in with his elbows on his very tan knees. He looked me square in the face and said, “Are you committed to this or not?”
The truth was I liked the idea of accountability a lot more than I liked accountability itself. I wanted someone who was willing to work harder at my program than I was but not be rude enough to point that out. I wanted to redefine normal in my life without experiencing the temporary disruptions that come with long-term change.
Rehabs are still open!
When we find ourselves in situations where we have to redefine normal, it will always feel like suffering. It will be the emotional and spiritual equivalent of a barking trainer pushing us beyond anything we ever thought we could endure. We might even be tempted to lay blame, retaliate, and rebuff the very people we’ve enlisted to help us.
When life moves us toward change and prompts us away from our old normal, we must trust that it will provide us the necessary tools in order to walk in the new one. Regardless of how we define recovery, it doesn’t happen in a business as usual paradigm.
It comes with challenges, with surrendering old habits and ways of thinking, and submitting. We must all experience those defining moments as individuals where we find ourselves asking, “Am I committed to this or not?”
If we are, can we risk forgiving, letting go of grudges, and releasing the emotional hostages we have taken that keep us sick?
Take a moment and reflect on your own love/hate relationship with those whom you have given permission to speak into your life. Ask yourself if you are willing to surrender yourself to the wisdom and experience of others in order to reap the benefits of the process for this stretch of the road.
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