One of the hardest aspects of addiction recovery for the newcomer is the unknown. The uncertainty that recovery brings can often lead the recovering alcoholic or addict back out into the world of addiction and down the path to relapse. When we are in our addictions, the unknown of tomorrow is easy to deal with. We continue to use and drink without thinking about the repercussion of our actions and do not worry about what tomorrow may bring to our lives. Alcoholics and addicts do not care about tomorrow because they assume that it will be just like today. Using, drinking, and getting high are an everyday occurrence for us, so why would tomorrow be any different. I know from my personal experience that tomorrow is an afterthought because of this very reason and addict thinking process.
For the recovering addict, however, this couldn't be further from the truth. We constantly worry about what tomorrow may bring when we are early in the recovery process. How will I be able to pay my bills? How will I get to work or my meetings without a car? Questions like these bombard us as newcomers and the uncertainty of tomorrow weighs heavily on our minds. We do not know the answers to these questions and begin to suffer from extreme anxiety as a result. This is one of the main reasons why I have seen so many individuals and have experienced a relapse myself. The unknown can be a scary occurrence when ill-equipped to deal with the emotions and feelings that it will inevitably bring.
Simply through faith. Most people, including myself at one point, hear the word faith and immediately link the word with religion. We say, "I do not have faith, I don’t believe in God or want anything to do with church." This is a very misleading and incorrect interpretation of the word. While many people do have faith in God or in the religion which they follow, faith has a much deeper understanding than this. It is important to remember the true meaning of the word faith and why it is so important to the recovering addict or alcoholic, both the newcomer and the individual with any amount of time in recovery programs.
Faith is basically the ability to let go of control. We do not have to worry about every little thing or even the major situations in our life because we understand that all of our needs will be taken care of. God or the higher power of your understanding has proved time and time again to provide for those who have faith. Whether your higher power is God or whether your higher power is something as simple as the groups of AA or other 12-step programs, we see that those individuals who have faith in the teaching and faith in the process are the ones who are able to maintain their abstinence from drugs and alcohol, as well as live a less stressful and more enjoyable life.
Faith for these individuals and faith as I understand it now does not answer the questions which life brings to us. Faith simply allows us to live life without knowing the answers to those questions. These once insurmountable questions, such as, "how will I be able to get to a meeting?" are no longer the heavy burden that they once were. We live by faith knowing that we will be able to have our needs met because we have seen this through other people's experiences. We rest easy with the understanding that tomorrow is not the fearful place that it once was. This practice in faith, however, is exactly how it sounds. It comes with practice.
No one who enters into the program will immediately develop the kind of faith necessary to let go of all of their fears, Strong faith develops over time and through practice. Practicing faith may sound strange and may be something that you have never heard of. You may be thinking that you either have faith or you don't, but this is also a false thought. Many individuals, including myself, have developed faith over the course of our recovering lives. It develops through action and doing what is suggested of you by those who have done it. By surrounding yourself with individuals who have a strong faith in their programs and who live by the principles which their programs teach, you begin to understand and develop a sense of faith for yourself.
You see the faith that these individuals have, because of how they choose to live their lives. Stress-free and a focus on today is something that most individuals who possess a strong faith will carry into their day to day activities. They do not focus on tomorrow because it has no come yet and is not guaranteed to anyone. This strong faith in their program effects every aspect of their life and is at the root success of their recovery program. Through daily practice they have developed the ability to let go of the control which every addict and alcoholic wish to maintain over their life, but has caused nothing but problems. They understand having faith that their higher power is in control and no situation is too big to handle or too difficult to overcome.
Through practice, you too can achieve this peace of mind that many individuals have come to acquire through recovery programs. It will come in time, just have Faith.