This week features our monthly installment of the shared wisdom of Kevin Flood for the healing journey. I hope you find his sharing insightful and helpful on your journey from survival to thriving. You can find more of Kevin’s Journey in the blog archives. Mike

Attitude of Recovery

by Kevin Flood
RECOVERY WORKS BEST IF YOU HAVE AN “ATTITUDE OF RECOVERY”

A recovery way of life is about making choices for yourself.  No one can make all of his life choices at once.   But as we all evolve, we learn gradually who we are and what our needs and wants are.    For most of us who are reading this, parts of the past will stay with us and we either learn to cope with it or continue to be diminished by it.    Choices; adopting specific healthy habits,  learning information and getting the help you need to free yourself from sex abuse burdens, make career decisions to live a comfortable life, how to ask for help, and  learning how to be part of a bigger community, are all examples of the tools you can develop by having a positive attitude of recovery. 

WHAT KIND OF WAY OF LIFE HAVE WE CHOSEN TO LEAD, WHAT KINDS ARE THERE?   

I had a negative attitude of fear before for the pain drove me to ask for help. That was my-way of life.   I finally got realistic enough to approach recovery in a serious way.    Just because I was in therapy and went to meetings didn’t mean I wanted to or was “getting it”.    I kept going and along the way I realized I was scared of getting better and accepting the truth, and for me they went hand-in-hand.    Accepting the truth of my story had to come first.  Along the way I learned to see  myself as having an attitude of recovery from listening to a man who always wanted to talk about  his attitude of gratitude.    I “borrowed” the basic idea and started to think of myself as having an attitude of recovery.    I wasn’t efficient but I worked hard at my recovery.   Being in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings over and over led me to realize one of the biggest and most helpful ideas for me.   I was in alcohol and sex abuse recovery but I was really in MY WHOLE LIFE RECOVERY, all of my life, not just parts of my life!!  My attitude of recovery led me to realize that recovery encompassed the entirety of my life, the  360 degree view.  As my recovery matured, I realized that my attitude of recovery gave me a broader picture of what my life was like and could be like.  The better I got at telling my story, making friends, writing my journal, being a good co-worker led me to feel more like a whole man, an adult among adults. 

An attitude of recovery for me meant making a commitment to sharpening my focus on what sex-abuse recovery means.  I defined what all the parts of my sex abuse story were, how they affected different parts of my life, and what recovery meant for each part I discovered. 

We can begin to shape an attitude of recovery that fits where we are in life today.  What are the  circumstances at the moment that we can address?    At the heart of it, you will need to make every effort just to be aware of all the parts of your life affected by sex abuse and/or substance abuse.    Avoid overkill in making a list.  You just need to begin to understand the scope of your recovery life.   

We can try to do the work of recovery day-by-day, and if that is too much, we do the work yard-by-yard and if that is too much we do it inch-by-inch.  You set the goals and the timetables so you don’t scare yourself away from the work.   One of the best ways to approach reaching an attitude of recovery each and every day is to share your story with other men.  It can be a therapist, a buddy, or making use of this site, MenHealing.    One purpose of the MenHealing site is to bring men together to find a safe place to tell their stories.  In doing so they can learn from one another through sharing their experiences.  

An attitude of recovery means you persist at finding ways to make your life better in little ways and big ways.   It is all about having a positive attitude.   

“Positive attitude” you say? Impossible!!  I know that for guys still in the victim mode it may be impossible to think anything in life is positive.   Personally, I have to tell you that I was angry at the person who told me it would be helpful to me if I had a more positive attitude for recovery!    I suddenly didn’t like him anymore and wanted nothing more to do with his “attitude”. 

He kept coming to the AA meetings.  In every meeting I was busy on my end working on digging myself out of my crappy hole, and  I slowly realized he was working on the other end, successful recovery!  I began to accept that I needed to listen and watch “winners” who had an attitude of recovery approach that seemed to work.  My approach sure wasn’t working. 

MAKING THE BEST CHOICES FOR OURSELVES

Making recovery choices is a constant struggle for us.  Because abuse can diminish our sense of what we deserve and what is appropriate for us, we are prone to making mistakes and paying the consequences, which we can do over and over.  As recovery moves along and we ask for help and let it in, we can also begin to struggle in a more positive way and have a clearer sense of what is good for us.  

Patch up disagreements with others, make your bed every morning, get rid of the frown and start saying hello and how are you, set some small goals for the day as you brush your teeth, and remember always, you’re in charge of your life!

REMEMBER:  IT IS ABOUT PROGRESS IN RECOVERY, NOT PERFECTION

Mike here; If you have any comments or feedback about this post or about the blog in general please add them to the comments section or email me at mike@menhealing.org. If you would like to contribute to the blog drop me a note or complete the “Join the MenHealing Blog link in the sidebar.

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