5 Things to Let Go of in Outpatient Treatment
“Let it all go and see what stays.”
As much as finding recovery is about getting what we have lost in life. Finding recovery is about letting go too. In outpatient treatment, you will find there is a kind of exchange that happens. You let go of old attitudes, ideas, and behaviors that used to drive you, and in return, you gain new attitudes, ideas and behaviors.
We have it written here on the wall at our intensive outpatient center, “I only had to change everything.” -David Niknafs
And while change looks like what you are getting and gaining in life, it also requires your ability to let go. And while your journey of letting go will be unique to you and your story, there are some things we can suggest, that will exponentially help you during your stay in IOP.
Hear me out on this one because entitlement, in this case, may not mean what you are thinking it means. The entitlement that I am speaking of, is the kind that says what we have is not enough. BUT–if we are honest with ourselves, we find that at our core, we are lucky, simply, to have our lives. Anything more than that, from that point, is a blessing. And this is what we gain by letting go of entitlement, gratitude.
“Coming from a place of humility instead of entitlement, and recognizing that you are blessed enough to get the chance to do something, can change everything.” –Jeanette Coron
If you want to let go of entitlement, you should begin to cultivate gratitude in your daily life. Because the fact is this, any alcoholic or addict that has sobriety has more than what most of us ever thought was possible. To have the opportunity to get a job, go to therapy, reside in a beautiful facility and even deal with the basic day-to-day, is an experience some people never get the chance to have due to their addiction. Remember that. Let go of your entitlement. Stay humble. Stay grateful. Watch how your life starts to change with this simple practice.
“Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one’s journey is easy. It’s how they handle it that makes people unique.” -Kevin Conroy
We all like to think we are special. I get it. I have been there. No one likes to think they are just like everybody else. But I am here to tell you–when it comes to addiction and alcoholism, the basic feelings and experiences are the same–none of us are unique on that front. The reason we are saying to let go of your uniqueness in outpatient treatment, well, it’s because we know it is used as a defense mechanism. It is a way to stay detached. It is a way to stay comfortable. It is a way to protect our disease and keep us from recovering. Often times this isn’t even conscious. But we do it. We look for all the ways we are different instead of how we are the same, and in turn, keep ourselves from finding what we really need–connection. And that is what we find when we let go of our uniqueness–we find friendship, connection, understanding, compassion for others and through that, compassion for ourselves. We find insight, and we find growth. Every person becomes a mirror of healing. We build bridges instead of walls and these bridges can carry us far on our journey to finding permanent recovery from addiction.
“It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out-of-date.” -Roger von Oech
We know you are smart. We know you are a capable person. And I am nearly 100% certain that in every other area of your life you are more than able to be wildly successful. This is usually the case for most of us. However, when it comes to your disease, your ideas don’t work. In this one area of your life, you do NOT know best. Plain and simple. If you did, you would not be here. You would have already handled the problem and moved on with your life. In order to find your solution, you have to let go of your ideas and find some new ones. You gain new ideas when you let go of your old ones. Outpatient treatment in and of itself is designed to give you new ideas. New ideas on how to tackle your addiction and keep your recovery for the rest of your life. The only way to be open to these ideas though is to let go of the idea that your ideas are better. That you know best. Don’t get me wrong, your ideas for most things are probably great and eventually, they will be great when it comes to your recovery. Just right now, while you are healing, let someone else help guide the way. Let someone else have some ideas on how you should go about changing your life. Be open to suggestions from people who want to help. Which brings me to the next thing to let go of in outpatient treatment.
“There is only one principle that will keep a person in everlasting ignorance and that is contempt prior to investigation.” -Herbert Spencer
And what he essentially is saying, is close-mindedness will keep us stuck. Close-mindedness keeps us from being willing to try anything new. To try new ideas. To try new behaviors. To try a new way of doing things. And what we need most when trying to find recovery, is a NEW way of living. Remember at the start of this we said we had to change everything. So being openminded to anything new is truly the key to finding recovery. How do you do this? Well, you can see it in your therapy sessions. Be open to suggestions from your therapist, be open to groups, be open to doing service, be open to the meetings, be open to the meditations. At this point in your life, what can anything new that might help really hurt? What you may find in being open-minded to these new things, is an entirely new life.
Fear and Insecurity
Fear and insecurity are some of the toughest things to let go of. We all live with some version of these two things. Often the two are wrapped up in each other as well. The kind of fear I am talking about here though isn’t the kind of fear that is deep-seated. That stuff you should be open to working on with your therapist. The kind of fear that I am talking about in this post, is the fear of change. Change is the only constant in life. Every person on the planet has to deal with it. Changing of relationships, changing of locations, changing of jobs, change in age, in their bodies, in their minds and so on and so forth. The only thing that will ever be guaranteed is that things will change.
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, maybe the very reason why you don’t have something better.” – C. JoyBell C
While you are in outpatient treatment, things are going to change, a lot. Your entire world not on drugs will look and feel different. It is normal to not feel right, to feel afraid and insecure and wonder how you are going to manage it all. It is normal to feel overwhelmed when you first start on this journey. That overwhelmed feeling is fear and insecurity. I am here to tell you that is absolutely okay to feel that way, and you can overcome it. You are worth it. Whatever your story, however impossible it may seem. However insecure you might feel, you are here, you have a purpose, and you are worth every bit of your effort to be the best person you can possibly be. Not only that but, you are not alone. We are here to help in every way possible.
Okay, with all that said–none of these things are easy. It is much easier said than done. But it can be simple. Little simple acts each day, lead into these drastic changes, changes that can turn your entire life into something you never believed was possible. So if you are ready to start the journey, we hope these things helped. And we look forward to having you join us.