Tag: recovery

The Responsibility We Have To Ourselves

By Michael Arndt

Growing up, I hated the word responsibility. I hated being told I was responsible for things. I didn’t want any responsibility, I don’t think I thought I was capable of taking any. I was so downtrodden and could not accept that I was responsible for everything that I created in my life. It felt overwhelming and caused me feelings of anxiety. It was easier for me to just blame others for my problems. As I have begun the journey into recovery, I have learned that I cannot fully heal and evolve into my best self unless I take full and ultimate responsibility for my life, my healing, my actions, and also the people I allow into my life.

I could wrap my mind around being responsible for my actions and my healing. But when I was told that I also had to take responsibility for the people I allowed into my life, I balked. At first I could not accept that level of responsibility. It would require that I push my sphere of responsibility outward. I had never considered this before.

But it sunk in, and over time I began to see what that really meant. It meant that if I make the choice to continue interacting with someone who has shown me that they are not capable of respecting my boundaries, or that they are not capable of respecting my desire to be healthy, I am responsible for the damage caused. Sometimes it can be as simple as not walking similar paths in life with similar goals. But if I try to force these relationships, or even simply allow them to continue, and continue to allow those people into my life and my space, I am responsible for the consequences. I cannot sit back and say to myself that I didn’t know better. I cannot sit back and complain that I am being negatively affected by the relationship when I allowed it to continue, whether it was out of fear of being alone, fear of confrontation, or because they were filling some base need for me. If I allow it, then I am responsible for it.

I began to see that just because I am responsible for something, does not necessarily mean something bad — it isn’t a judgment about who I am at my core. I think this was at the heart of my aversion to responsibility when I was younger. I thought that if I took responsibility and failed, it meant I was a bad person. This could not be further from the truth. Taking responsibility is ultimately about protecting one’s self and one’s energy. It is the tool by which we can honor our best selves, and protect our hearts and our minds. Without responsibility, we live in a perpetual disempowered state of victimhood in which we have convinced ourselves we have no power and are at the mercy of other people and circumstances.

Mourning the Loss of Our Destructive Behaviors

By Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator, CAST Centers
Follow Michael on Instagram:
@michaelcastcenters

Usually when we think of loss and mourning, we think of losing someone we love. But there are more kinds of loss than just the kind we experience when we lose someone close to us. There is the kind of loss we experience when we shed behaviors we have used to insulate ourselves from discomfort or a relationship that has run its course or is no longer healthy. It turns out, loss presents itself in similar ways, regardless of what we are mourning the loss of.

It can even be true for giving up drinking or drugs, self-harm, lying, or lashing out in anger. All of these can, for some people, serve the same purpose: to help us deal with feelings we have a low tolerance for. When we start the road to recovery, we actively work to lessen our engagement in these behaviors or rid them from our lives entirely. In doing so, we are often confronted with feeling “torn.” On one hand we know that these behaviors/addictions are destructive, and on the other hand, we cannot imagine life without them.

We also often mourn the loss of our behaviors and addictions. We go through stages where we miss it terribly, even when it is harmful to us. We will avoid going to places that remind of us it, just like we might when we have lost a person or ended a relationship. Some people, especially in early sobriety cannot eat certain foods without thinking too longingly of the drink they used to have with it.

It is also common to go through a phase where we try to bargain and justify, like by saying we’ll only drink wine instead of liquor, or only binge once a week, or self-harm without puncturing skin. Not unlike people do when they lose someone and try to bargain with God or the universe. Making all manner of promises and oaths to have the person brought back or to be able to see them one last time.

When we think of the bonds we create, we almost always view them as bonds between other people. But we also form very close and intimate bonds with our destructive coping mechanisms. They occupy huge parts of our minds and our lives, and over time we become just as attached to them as we do to family, partners, and friends. This explains why they’re so hard to break. It requires a ton of patience and practice and leaning on others to process the experience. It is a relationship, and when we start to view it as a relationship, it becomes easier to speak about, and to say goodbye to.

Our Relationship With The Truth

By Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator, CAST Centers
Follow Michael on Instagram: @michaelcastcenters

Before I got sober, my life pretty much revolved around lying. I led a double life that required keeping a lot of secrets and telling a lot of lies. It is an uncomfortable topic for us to discuss, and though almost everyone lies, if you ask them, they will vehemently deny it. There is a lot of shame around our relationship with dishonesty. We are taught that it makes someone a bad person if they lie.

My experience has taught me tha is almost never the case. Often, people lie because they are in pain, shame, or fear. I think we can all have compassion for a person who is experiencing these emotions — they are difficult and we have all been there.

I am not advocating dishonesty, but advocating instead for compassion for those who struggle with it. There are those too who are so hurt, ashamed or fearful of reality that they have no accurate perception of it and therefore cannot speak to it; It is often not even conscious.

As we all know, being as honest and vulnerable as we can in recovery is a crucial piece to getting well. We cannot change that which we do not acknowledge. The more tightly we hang on to our pain, the more it will hurt us. It is helpful, if you are struggling with it, to take a step back from it and gain some perspective on it. Ask yourself, what is the reason that compels me to be dishonest? Am I attempting to control a narrative because I am scared of being seen for who I really am? Am I so hurt at the prospect of rejection that I would rather be dishonest and inauthentic?

There are some valuable lessons surrounding discomfort with the truth. These areas in our lives and in ourselves are worthy of nonjudgmental exploration and can expand our growth and sense of self.

A Delicate Balance

Director of Admissions, Robert Lien, MHA was interviewed about his role in the client journey towards recovery. Read an short excerpt below:

“Healthcare administration, in my experience, has been a delicate balance of patient safety and staff safety. The screening process allows us to gather information regarding the patient’s current medical and mental health status. This helps us evaluate a level of care recommendation that will determine the cost for services.”

Read the entire article on the Rasmussen College blog.

The Past Does Not Dictate Your Future

CAST Centers Resident Advisor, Michael Arndt, was quoted on the Thriveworks blog, on the best advice he was given as a client.

“Some of the best advice I was ever given while I was a client at CAST was that my past, and all the baggage that came with it, did not have to dictate the trajectory of my life, unless I allowed it to,” says Michael Arndt, Resident Advisor at CAST Centers.

“That I did not have to continue being a victim of what had happened to me before entering treatment. That was such a powerful thing for me to hear; it helped me shift my perspective on what I was struggling with. It was a message of empowerment and of taking responsibility for myself and my actions from that day forward. I believe it was one of the most important turning points I had on the road to recovery.”

Check out the full article.

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