A mistake many make after giving up alcohol or drugs is just to expect their life will improve. Breaking away from addiction certainly does lead to physical and mental health improvements, but it does not guarantee happiness. All that really happens is that the person removes a huge obstacle from their life, but it is now up to them to take action to build something better. If you hope to find happiness in recovery, it is important that you commit to some type of personal development plan.
What is Personal Development?
Personal development means making a conscious decision to develop self-awareness and improve coping strategies for dealing with life. It is a way to achieve potential and find success – this is sometimes referred to as self-actualisation. Personal development can involve many different types of progress, including improved time-management, emotional sobriety, better communication skills, and encouraging natural abilities. Anything that a person does to improve life could be considered as part of personal development.
The Importance of Personal Development in Recovery
There will always be a reason why many turn to substance abuse and these reasons are likely to be still there upon becoming sober. It would be like being back at square one because the person may once again struggle to cope with the same problems and issues. The goal of recovery is not about getting back to where one was, but in finding a much better life than before – this is what it is meant by saying recovery is a process and not an event.
The best way of ensuring that you are able to stay sober long-term is for you to have the type of life that you would not want to risk losing by drinking or using drugs. In order to enjoy this type of life, you will need to work on personal development. The idea is progress and not perfection because there will always be more work to be done; however, by steadily moving towards your potential, life will likely start to become increasingly satisfying.
Discovering Your Potential
When caught up in alcohol or drug abuse, there is not much room for anything else in life. This behaviour robs people of their dreams, preventing them from reaching their potential. A nice aspect of getting sober is discovering great things one never knew about themselves – discovering new talents and new activities that are great doing when sober. It can be a bit like discovering a new world.
How to Promote Personal Development in Recovery
There are thousands of books and courses on personal development, but today there is also plenty of free information online in the form of articles, eBooks, videos, and podcasts. Some of the simple things you can do to encourage your own personal development in recovery would include:
- dealing with problems in life instead of trying to run away from them – this is the way to pick up new skills and develop emotional sobriety
- spending time around successful people and following their example
- reading autobiographies about inspirational people
- joining a recovery fellowship and following a programme for long-term sobriety
- spending time with a therapist to uncover any issues holding you back in life
- experimenting with different coping strategies for dealing with problems
- listening to inspirational talks by people who have achieved amazing things
- attending some type of personal development course – for example, time management skills.