So you’re done treatment and, like most of us, you are now living in second stage housing or you are back at home with your family. You are feeling good about yourself and you’ve decided that it’s time to go back to work or maybe even school. Eventually you have to have that conversation with yourself and your support group. You’re eager to become busy and to do something familiar or unfamiliar that you can count on, but some people aren’t so fortunate. They either don’t have a job to go back to or maybe they haven’t had a job in a long time. Having a regular full-time job is a big deal.

Today that’s where I am at. I just turned 55 and let me tell you, it’s not so easy finding full-time work when you are my age. Even though it’s been a bit of a struggle, although I do have some work that I am getting from a friend of a friend. I am okay with that. But a bit of work here and a bit of work there, is just that… a bit of work. Looking for a full-time job is full-time work. I have to go out there and use my network of friends, my friends in recovery and put the message out there that Luke is looking for a full-time employment situation. I have to be proactive… I can’t sit at home and wait for people to call me back after I’ve dropped off a resume or had an interview. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in treatment, is that you have to be proactive! You have to do the work and so I’ve taken that approach!

It doesn’t matter where you are in your recovery there is HOPE! I see and hear about it all the time at meetings. So today I am going to talk about hope and how it has helped me.

So what is hope? Well hope for me is the expectation that things in the future will be better. Hope has become the foundation and the energy that drives me to find a way to get better and heal. It has kept me strong when I’ve encountered challenges. Hope has given me a sense of joy and peace, knowing that a better tomorrow exists for me out there. So, how do you find it? Finding hope is different for every one of us. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes we need to work to find it. So I’ve put together a list of some of the ways that I’ve found hope. Here are a few that have worked for me:

Listen to stories of hope: Listening to stories of hope, success and triumphs of others can help us find hope. These stories not only inspire us, but also shed some light on strategies of finding and sustaining hope even during the darkest times.

Think positive of the future: Look into the future and identify who and what’s important to you. It could be a loved one such as a child, spouse or parents. It can also be an event or something you always wanted to do. Looking positively into the future helps cultivate a purpose and direction in life.

Positive affirmations: Even Though it might seem like a simple process, positive affirmations do work. The repetition of positive affirmations leads to belief, and belief is at the heart of hope. Affirmations such as, ‘I am strong, I can overcome my challenges, I am a new person, I feel new hope and I can recover,’ rebuild a sense of self-worth and your belief that you are capable of achieving your goals. Not only do affirmations build belief, but also a confidence and a drive for change and action.

Leaning on a Higher Power: Many find hope by reaching for a Higher Power. This could be through spirituality, religion or philosophy. Reaching to a Higher Power is actually Step 2 in the 12-Step Process: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Simplified this reads as, “there is help for my problem and I believe I can address it.”

Accept your current situation: For someone it may be hard to accept that they are currently in a bad place. But the courage of acceptance is the first step in desiring a better future. Acceptance helps us realize that our current situation is not where we want to be, and helps us develop a vision of where we want to be. Without acceptance, we cannot take control of our destiny to reach a better tomorrow.

Have a realistic and meaningful plan: It is action that makes hopes come true. By the mere fact of developing a plan for a better future you will build hope. The more your plan, with firm action steps and dates, you will come to realize that your vision really is attainable.

The journey and recovery from addiction is never an easy one. No one can last long and keep fighting for recovery without hope. Hope is a very important ingredient in recovery. Finding hope and meaning, together with a solid plan, helps you move forward on your journey of recovery.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”   Desmund Tutu

So please share your experiences with us. We need them. They help make us better people.

Thanks for stopping by… Luke D

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