Recovery is a process. It involves increasing awareness, letting go of old, limiting beliefs, adopting new habits, and a distinct change in perspective. From the time you begin working a program of recovery, change is happening, and will continue to happen as long as you are willing to allow it.
The Importance Of Letting Go
It’s hard to look at the many aspects of recovery and choose one that is more important than another. It’s all important, and many of the principles of recovery work together to bring about massive amounts of change in life. The first time I really surrendered and let go was when I finally admitted that I needed help, I attended an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab. For example, if you attend twelve step meetings, you’ll hear about the importance of honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. These three spiritual principles alone have created a tremendous amount of change in my life, but it was when I began working my steps that I learned of another valuable tool.
The Beauty Of Letting Go
Control is something that many addicts try to hold on to at all costs, even when that cost is everything they hold dear. It’s an illusion, of course. I know that looking back I was never really in control of anything, but still I tried. I tried to control people, my addiction and outcomes. I tried to control what people thought of me, and tried to control their actions and beliefs. When life got tough, as it frequently does, I ran myself ragged trying to manipulate events and circumstances to work in my favor, often with disastrous results.
When I got into recovery, I was introduced to the concept of letting go. I was advised to stop trying so hard to control things, and to abandon all thoughts of changing the way other people felt and acted. It was suggested to me that when I felt the urge to manipulate a situation or force it, to just let it go instead. This seemed crazy to me. How would anything ever work out without my interference?
Looking back now, I can see how silly that thinking was, but it felt real to me. The idea of letting go was foreign, and frankly, I wasn’t even sure how I could do it if I wanted to.
It took practice, but I began learning how to let go. Letting go takes many forms. Sometimes, it’s about not taking action, at least not right away. It means holding off on making a decision, or reacting to a situation. Other times it’s about not sitting in fear or stressing about something I have no control over. This isn’t always easy.
Letting Go Of The Outcome
Sometimes, all you can do is try your best and then rest easy knowing you did everything you could. There are so many situations this can apply to. Maybe you applied for a new job, maybe you made an amends, but the person is still angry and not ready to forgive you. Maybe your new romantic partner has just told you they need space. There are so many times when letting go is appropriate, but really difficult.
What Happens When You Let Go
My experience has shown me that when I am able to let go of outcomes I have more peace in my life. I don’t feel as tense. I’m able to be present for those I care about because I’m not busy spinning my wheels over stuff I have no control over. I’m a happier, more relaxed person.
Letting Go Of What Does Not Serve You
Another form of letting go means releasing things that aren’t good for you or don’t serve your highest good. Toxic relationships, negative behaviors and beliefs, even excess stuff that weighs you down -- all of these are things you can practice letting go of.
When I let go of excess baggage, I am lighter. I have more energy to devote to the things that I truly care about. It’s amazing how much of my personal energy was wasted on things that I either had no control of, or that I really didn’t care that much about.
Letting Go Of The Past
This is a big one, and not always easy. Staying stuck in the past means I am not living in the present. Like many other recovering addicts, I showed up with a lot of wreckage, guilt and shame. The guilt and shame were the worst, it made me miserable. I struggled with letting go of it. It felt wrong. I think deep down inside I felt like I needed to continue to carry the burden to prove to myself and others that I was sorry and that I was serious about changing. The problem was that I was so weighed down by the baggage I was carrying that it was taking away from my recovery. Remember what I said about energy? It was amazing how much energy it took for me to continue holding on to that guilt and shame. Through working with my sponsor and doing my steps I’ve learned to let go of what steals my energy, what takes from my being and what hurts my soul.
Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.