Sober Living: The Foundation for Virtuous Healthy Relationships (Part II)
In today’s post we continue our deep dive into the discussion on the virtuous life awaiting you when you chose a life of recovery among peers in a sober living home.
You know as well as I that learning to live with others can be difficult. Developing the skills for good moral behavior is necessary to rise above ego, insecurity, and low self-worth.
When living in a sober living home, keep in mind that each resident is planning and preparing their personal journey for recovery. Everyone residing in the home is experiencing fear of the unknown, denial and different barriers blocking the path of change.
When you are mindful of how you interact with each resident the relationship blossoms into one of support, care, and meaning.
This is why residing in a sober living home jumpstarts the transition into a life of good moral character. Choosing to live, communicate, and commit to new healthy relationships with peers aiming to find their own personal path in recovery will strengthen your sober living skills and forge long lasting relationships within the recovery community.
A sober living home is a fraternity sans alcohol and other illicit drugs.
Today's post will continue to outline the virtues of good moral character which sprout from new healthy relationships forged in sober living homes:
Sober living is the perfect environment to stimulate a change in how you perceive your self-worth. When you commit to learning to grow with other peers in all stages of change stimulates a desire to heal. As you recover, forgive, and work through your past mistakes and failures, you become more confident in your ability to grow and change.
Of course, change rarely occurs overnight. The more energy you exert disputing your irrational thinking and feelings of low self-worth the more you’ll begin to understand how your thoughts and perceptions of yourself have limited your growth.
Improving your self-esteem and feeling of self-worth happens over time. The longer you commit to communicating with others residing in a sober living home you’ll spot your spotting irrational thoughts easier. With the ability to spot irrational thoughts comes the desire to dispute and eradicate with self-limiting beliefs of doubt and fear.
It is difficult to feel confident that others motives are genuine and honest when you are not satisfied in your own actions. It is often said, that the faults you find in others is a reflection of what you dislike in yourself. If you are untrusting of others and feel their intentions are misguided it could mean you still need to mend self-limiting beliefs you are clinging too.
Over time, healthy relationships forged in sober living homes establishes the confidence you need to believe your efforts are pure and good.
“Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future. “ - Maurice Edward Clarett
In your addiction, denial created an image of you which lacked humility. You were blazing your own path without the need and support of others. You felt you were self-made and independent. In addiction you isolate from those who loved and cared for you.
Humility often brings to mind weakness and fear, which in fact are characteristics of addiction.
As you come to trust and respect those residing in a sober living home you begin to understand that a little humility will go a long way. Previously discussed virtues of good moral character, honesty, courage, and confidence are all characteristics defining modesty.
Humility empowers you to act with strength and righteousness.
Humility is illustrated quite easily through the absence of pride. Up to this point you’ve learned how virtues of good moral character bond you with others living communally in a sober living house. The benefits, love, and care you feel from others in the home create the desire to act with humility.
Your addiction set your sites on one goal - to get inebriated.
You were keenly focussed on finding the time, money, and freedom from family and loved ones to be alone with your drug or alcohol. Your thoughts and actions were set to auto-pilot.
Early recovery is a time for new beginnings.
Most importantly forging new relationships with sober, supportive peers to help you steer the course and focus on the changes you are making.
Mindfulness is moving your attention from autopilot and deliberately becoming self-aware of yourself in relationship to others and your surroundings.
Being present and attentive in your thoughts helps you retain positive attitudes and emotions. In fact, mindfulness is emotional regulation. When you are practicing mindfulness, you are able to correct imbalances within your physical and mental states quickly and easily.
While residing in a sober living home sets the stage for being mindful and compassionate to the needs of others. Mindfulness reinforces your healthy relationships. The more conscious you are of your self, thoughts, and actions towards others the more satisfying life and relationships will become.
So much can be said about the virtue of forgiveness.
On the road to recovery, forgiveness plays a mighty significant role.
Forgiveness heals your wounded spirit and soul. When you learn to forgive others, you are learning to accept the past and move on. But when you learn to forgive yourself, you’ll unlock the doors and break down the barriers keeping you trapped in negative thoughts and low self-esteem.
Shame, regret, and guilt only create feelings of unrest inside you. Holding on to these feelings quickens an unwanted relapse. When you are willing to accept and let go of the pain from the wrongs you have done or what believe others have done to you-you are living in a state of forgiveness.
When you take the time to understand your actions and the actions, abilities, and disabilities of others you find it easier to forgive. Choosing to see situations from the perspective of others removes the personal attachment you feel to others actions. Once you understand how your not responsible for the actions and behaviors of others you can begin to heal resentment.
Understanding, compassion and honesty plays a mutual part in mastering the virtue of forgiveness.
The virtue of patience is vital to cultivating healthy relationships in early recovery.
Learning to be patient is torturous in and of itself. Every human is tested with time, waiting, or working on achieving a goal with little to show for it can be treacherous.
We all want what we want when we want it.
Contantly going to the gym, eating healthy, and staying focussed on weightloss and the scale not dropping in your favor are just some examples of not seeing results fast enough. But when you stay persistent and remain patient you will break through barriers and see the results you seek.
Everyone’s path into addiction and into recovery is different.
As you step onto the road of recovery and learn to practice acceptance in your life, you’ll quickly learn how patience plays a crucial role. As you stop trying to control the outcomes of people and situations, you’ll learn to be patient and wait.
Sober living creates a community of peers from the same background, but still all members have different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. As you establish rapport with individuals within the community, you’ll begin to understand the differences of each resident. Just like in the virtue of forgiveness, understanding plays an essential role in developing patience with others.
Like all the virtues mentioned patience doesn’t just happen overnight, but with time, practice, and mindfulness you will come to feel comfortable accepting others perfections and imperfections. You'll no longer feel a sense of dread when another resident gets into the bathroom before you in the morning, aggravated waiting to be seen by your outpatient primary care clinician, or standing in line while the old lady in front of you is digging through her purse looking for the change.
You’ll learn to enjoy these moments patiently alone with your best friend - yourself.
The last virtue on this list is gratitude. By any means, it is not the virtue with the least value.
Being grateful for the little efforts and actions of others creates a bridge to happiness and self-respect. The virtue of gratitude has been called “the mother of all virtues,” because it is a culmination of so many other virtuous behaviors.
When you begin your day with reflection upon what you are grateful for you’ll cultivate an attitude of service and support for others. When you are thankful for what you have and where you are in life your negative self-talk, and irrational thoughts will vanish from your mindset.
Developing an attitude for gratitude in your recovery strengthens meaningful relationships. Understanding, feeling, and expressing all that you are grateful for reinforces your sense of self-worth. Your wellness and health are internally connected to your gratitude. The bonds of friendship forged in a sober living home strengthen when you are grateful.
When you are caught in the throes of addiction your mindset is self-centered, negative self-talk plagues your thoughts, and causes you to act irrationally. Gratitude happens when you shift your focus from self-consuming thoughts.
Instead, begin to focus upon the efforts and actions of others.
The Virtues of good moral character
The peer bonds you make in recovery will aid you in changing your behaviors and actions in life. Once you begin changing the behaviors of your past, you’ll overcome self-doubt and live a life of integrity.
In your efforts to become more focused on how your actions and behaviors affect others you'll begin to pursue a life of goodness. Replacing old feelings of failure, regret, shame, and guilt with the positive outcomes of gratitude, compassion, and empathy will position you for success in life.
Success, maintaining your health and well-being, and being mindful to help and serve others ensure long-term sustained recovery.
For recommended further reading and other blog posts in this series:
How sober living connects us with peers with common goals and desires in recovery
Why we need to commit to communicate, trust, and participate in our healthy relationships forged through sober living
Sober Living, Healthy Relationships, & A Plan for Better Decision Making
How the Serenity Prayers helps you stay on top of living a life of the good moral character
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, this holiday season, is interested in sober living in Connecticut, or recovery coaching in New York City and Connecticut - contact us today for help.