There is a concept known as the “hero’s journey” that nearly all Hollywood’s major movies and the world’s bestselling novels are based on. These movies and novels are so popular because they tell a story that resonates deep inside all of us.
Along with stories from centuries ago, such as some Greek myths and stories in religious books, they follow a journey that we know subconsciously we need to go on for a meaningful and contented life.
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
A growing number of mental health experts are recognizing the striking similarity between the hero’s journey and recovery. In fact, it is now seen that the Twelve Steps recovery program takes people through their very own personal hero’s journey.
Be your own protective force
In this context the word “hero” is more akin to the meaning of the Greek word it derived from – meaning “protector”. That is to be someone who can look after themselves well and without harm, as well as be there for other people when they need some help.
This can be seen in movies including The Wizard Of Oz, Star Wars, Batman, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, The Matrix, Rocky, Superman and The Lord Of The Rings. The main character in all of these stories discovers the treasure that was always inside them – that is the impressive inner strength to deal with an adversity that threatens them and usually their community if not the whole world.
The main characters in films such as these strike a chord in all of us because they represent our lives when they face their greatest fears and in doing so find the hero that was always inside them. They will always have some sort of guide or mentor to help, encourage and believe in them.
Here is the undeniable connection with recovery. To find recovery and then maintain it we all need to have the strongest resolve to have the utmost courage to change something.
It usually means looking back at unresolved histories with a professional who has expertise in these matters. They will help, encourage and believe in the person who has asked for their help.
They will help them recover something – their true self, that at some point became hidden and that might have seemed lost forever.
From ordinary to extraordinary
In a hero’s journey one of the first stages is going from the potential hero’s ordinary world into an extraordinary world. Any potential hero knows deep down that where they presently are is not where they can be or need to be to know happiness and fulfill their potential on this earth.
So it is the same with recovery: someone’s ordinary world might definitely not look ordinary to most of us, but to that person it has become that way. For instance, the alcoholic drinking every day until blackout; the cocaine addict snorting lines as soon as they wake up; the workaholic who never sees his children; the sex addict in debt due to paying for sex…
It might be extremely chaotic and distressing, but this has become their ordinary world. To leave it to go into an extraordinary world – meaning somewhere extremely different – needs courage and desire.
It is why such as a rock bottom or breakdown is frequently needed before people get well in recovery. As with the hero’s journey stories, people often reach the stage where there is nowhere else left to go.
No matter how they get there, when someone makes that courageous journey from their ordinary world into the extraordinary world – that could be from such as attending a Twelve Steps meeting, seeing a therapist or booking into a recovery center – what then?
If it is someone’s first time, then it will certainly seem like they have entered a strange world. There might be people like themselves there and they find identification for the first time.
There will be people there to help them, and for some people this is a first. People will listen to them about their emotional issues. For many who start recovery – even those who might have had hundreds of people under their leadership in business – it’s the first occasion they have felt listened to genuinely.
There might be some new words and phrases that are heard for the first time, and it can initially seem like learning a new language. But thankfully it is the language of recovery that’s easy to learn.
There will almost certainly be new concepts too as methods for living life on life’s terms. Discoveries will be made that often seem obvious – but that couldn’t be seen before talking to such as a therapist.
This could be, for instance, that we all have a choice over which thoughts we pay our attention to on a daily basis. Or that how we’ve always responded to certain situations is merely how we learned during childhood – but that it’s never been the best way for us or those we are around.
Another realization that many people who start recovery make is that sometimes the support from some family members and certain friends might not be there for them as they believed it would. This is frequently due to the other person and should never put anyone off entering or continuing recovery.
There’s a recovery phrase for this: Those that matter don’t mind; and those that mind don’t matter.
It’s a useful phrase to remember – but sometimes it is not so simple. This is because at times someone in recovery might discover that their partner or a close friend does not seem to like that they are making positive changes in their life.
For instance, this could be that someone has a codependent partner who actually got something from the relationship by being the one who was always needed to pick up the pieces caused by the messiness of such as an addiction. It helped them deal with their own emptiness and was a constant distraction from their pain.
Sometimes too someone like an old drinking buddy might not want to lose their mate as an accomplice. They liked that they were always on hand to go out and get drunk with them, yet again. The fact they had a friend who drank as much as them meant their own drink problem had somewhere to hide.
By someone like this going into recovery it is as if this person then sees a mirror held up in front of them and they cannot face what they see because they do not like it. As well, perhaps they do not think another way is possible.
So they might avoid the old friend who’s making positive changes now. Or even make attempts to sabotage the relationship no matter if they have known each other since childhood.
People in early recovery will start to realize they have more time as they are not spending so much of it on things such as an addiction or battling anxiety. Frequently people notice they have more money too – and wonder before long how they ever could have afforded such as a drink or drug addiction.
Business and work achievements will improve. Family time will increase in quality. Friendships can be rekindled.
There are other fantastic benefits that are usually noticed in early recovery. Heads will clear, people will feel physically fitter and stronger, a sparkle will come back into their eyes, aches and pains felt for years can dwindle or cease…
Sometimes some of these things might not be noticed by the person in recovery, but they are noticed by others especially if they’ve not seen the person in early recovery for some time. Sometimes the person looking at the other who’s in early recovery cannot put their finger on it – but they sense and see something different and it’s wholly positive.
If you are in early recovery, don’t be surprised to see people looking at you with a slight sense of wonder, maybe with their head tilted, as they ponder just what it is that has changed for the better in you.
Another thing that is often felt by someone in early recovery is an inner strength either coming back – or seeming to be there for the first time in their life. Day by day they get the growing sense that they can live their life in a better way. If they had an addiction they will get to know that the balance of power is changing in their favor.
There is also the sense of finding parts of themselves they remember as being their true self. There’s a sense of familiarity about this, a return home as they recover their true self.
Everyone who has successful recovery today also had their first days in recovery – and they will tell anyone thinking about seeking help that they would not want to miss this priceless feeling of recovering their real sense of self.
Director of the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) Dr George Koob was reported in the USA Today newspaper as saying that previous research had already revealed people are much more likely to drink more “during times of uncertainty and duress”.
But this always comes with a warning from experts such as Dr Koob. “Any increases in alcohol use during the pandemic could be a cause for concern. This is particularly if the increases stem from an attempt to cope with negative emotions associated with the crisis.”
Whatever the reason or justification, drinking too much and/or too often has definite proven long-term and short-term negative health consequences. This includes not only physical health but emotional and mental wellbeing too.
Here are six major benefits of giving up alcohol.
1. Better sleep
During sleep the body is busy repairing and restoring.
When alcohol is in the system the body is spending more time trying to rid itself of toxins. Stopping drinking gives the body a chance to do its job properly when asleep.
Many people think that alcohol actually makes them sleep better. It can certainly seem that way.
But it is in fact the opposite: a major disturbance to the body’s natural restorative process. This frequently means a feeling of tiredness and being unable to think clearly the day after drinking.
Regular proper sleep means our immune system is stronger. So we’re less likely to catch such as a virus – and if we do we can respond and recover better.
It also means we are less likely to have mishaps and accidents. Life in general will seem more in order – with, for instance, much more likelihood of eating healthy meals at regular times.
Alcohol is high in calories as well. For instance, a large glass of wine is nearly equivalent in calories to a donut.
Our body’s ability to burn fat is hindered by alcohol consumption. So quit drinking and the weight is more likely to fall off.
Additionally, too much alcohol negatively impacts on every organ in the body – including the heart, brain, pancreas and liver. Over time, it increases the risk of many life-threatening illnesses.
Alcohol also has a detrimental effect on the immune system. People who drink too much and too often will be more prone to illnesses and take longer to recover when they get ill.
3. More zest & productivity
Most people who drink too much will waste hours that add up to days and weeks every year. By quitting drinking you’ll be giving yourself more time to be productive and see the people you love as well as doing hobbies you enjoy.
Clarity of thought and better physical coordination will add an overall positive impact. All of this is a boost to emotional wellbeing too.
4. Better bank balance
Most people who quit drinking find they have more money. This is from the obvious fact that their money isn’t being spent on alcohol and any associated costs such as taxis home.
But it’s also from the fact that there will be less sick days and those other days when it’s just a struggle to get through the day. Productivity and decision-making is also improved.
Consequently, you’ll get much more done. That’s clearly a great benefit to your work life and earning potential.
5. More hours every day
Not only will there be less sick days and days of muddling through, there will be no mornings wasted in bed. There is also much more time compared to when there used to be those hours spent drinking.
This is an often overlooked major benefit of quitting drinking. But it’s one of the first things that people realize, even in their first week of not drinking.
6. Improved general wellbeing
Alcohol is a mood-altering substance. When people stop drinking they often notice their moods become less erratic, meaning they are calmer and more steady in life.
Many people notice that their emotional health is vastly improved. For example, this means they will be able to have much better healthy boundaries.
So the positive results for someone quitting alcohol can be excellent. This also benefits all the people who are close to them too.
Our expert team here at Tikvah Lake Recovery has many decades of experience in treating people with all types of problems. We carefully listen before offering treatments that are proven to work.
Every treatment we offer is completely personalized, so that it works the best for each of our guests. That is not only to gain the swiftest results – but also to ensure recovery is long-lasting and continues when you leave us.
Get in touch with us right now to speak in confidence. Discover how we can help you or someone you love.
Recovery is a journey that goes in many distinct ways for different people.
It’s true that as with many things – such as playing an instrument or going to the gym – the more you put in, the more you benefit.
But when it comes to recovery, the starting point for people is frequently a different one. Some people have more to mend than others.
Some people have gone even further down, their rock bottom looks much worse.
Then, in addition to whatever the mental health problem is, it also depends on such as how much needs to be unlearned or newly learned. Another factor to consider is the sensitivity of the person themselves.
The word “recovery” actually derives from Latin recuperare meaning “get again”. This means returning to a way of being before such as addiction, depression, stress or anxiety took hold.
But many people who get into recovery realize that while all types of mental illnesses usually get progressively worse unless treated – so too recovery gets progressively better. This is so long as what has helped move them into recovery continues to be worked.
Many people then come to realize that there’s something so much more on offer in recovery…
Here are six major benefits of recovery:
1. Improved sleep
For a great number of people the first improvement around sleep is that they actually start to get some sleep at all. As problems from the past and present are resolved sleep will get increasingly regular and better.
Part of recovery can involve dealing with anything that has been affecting peace of mind. This will only aid and enhance sleep.
Also, for those who’ve been addicted to alcohol or drugs they will come to see that what they thought was sleeping was more like “passing out”. Consequently they will awake much more refreshed.
When we are tired we are more prone to be irritable and not make the best decisions and choices. So there are immense benefits all round – and these can come swiftly for someone who starts recovery.
2. Boosted energy
One of the other benefits of regular and better sleep is that there will be much more energy. This is also combined with a clearer head.
So decision-making skills are much better. The result is there is less stress in daily living.
It also means we can put much more into life. This is whether it is from parenting or studying to working or playing sports.
3. Better health
Having regular decent sleep also means we are healthier. It means that we are less likely to catch such as a virus, but it also means if we do get ill we are stronger to recover, usually much more swiftly too.
Of course this is combined with the fact that if someone is drinking excessively or addicted to drugs they are most likely damaging themselves physically as well as emotionally. Then, being trapped in a behavioral addiction often means not eating well and/or properly.
Mental health conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety mean that people suffering from them do not or cannot look after themselves well. Meals will be skipped or unhealthy quick-fix food eaten instead of regular healthy meals.
Being in recovery means learning again how to take care of ourselves, and knowing we are worth that.
4. Increased time
One of the first things that many people who start recovery realize is that they have more time. This is because such as an addiction is not taking up their time in planning what and when to get it, then the using and/or drinking and then the getting over that – such as struggling with a hangover.
A regular part of getting over it is there’s often a great deal of time spent in trying to pick up the pieces caused by certain behaviors while using and/or drinking.
In recovery, mornings are not spent in trying to merely survive them or repair damages caused; and afternoons are not wasted in planning the next session. Then the evenings are not about getting intoxicated.
With this increased time that comes with recovery, it means more time for not only recovery – but also many things that have often been neglected such as spending quality time with family and friends.
Life gets narrower when suffering with mental health problems. On the other side of that, life gets more varied and enjoyable in recovery – with, for instance, old hobbies regained and new hobbies discovered.
5. More money
When people get into recovery, a great many look back and wonder… how they could ever have afforded to be so unwell with such as an addiction or debilitating anxiety and depression that meant they couldn’t work.
For those who drank alcohol addictively or who used drugs or were addicted to such as gambling, shopping and sex addictions, they will realize just how much of their money went on their damaging habits.
So as well as saving money that might previously have been spent on, say, drink, drugs or gambling, there’s also a boost to earning abilities. This is as people gain more time and get fully back into employment and running businesses that their mental health problems had limited or stopped.
6. Discover who you’re meant to be
So long as recovery is worked at it gets progressively better. This means to keep doing the things that help with recovery and growth.
Many people discover that recovery leads them to a way of living that is infinitely better. But also that the best recovery of all is when we once again become who we know we’re truly meant to be.
This gives a peace of mind that is priceless.
If anyone puts the necessary recovery work in with honesty, humility, courage, dedication and an open mind – combined with the support of a therapist as well as perhaps others in recovery – they will gain these major benefits.
In addition, there can be spiritual growth that gives many people’s lives a whole new meaning. There is more connection with other people, which means all relationships will improve.
Many people also learn how to keep life more in the present moment. This means they’re not trapped in their thoughts with regrets for the past and worries for the future.
Then they are much more likely to notice the beauty around them. That is in other people as well as in nature.
An immense recovery benefit is being able to value and love yourself, to care for and treat yourself well. Most people will naturally exercise more and make sure they eat healthily.
Many people in recovery talk about starting to feel lucky rather than always being unlucky. This is much to do with how we look at life: whether we focus on the negative or the positive.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts,” said the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius.
It certainly takes courage to seek help. But the results can be absolutely remarkable for someone who seeks help – and for everybody around them as well.
Our expert team has many decades of experience in treating people with all mental health problems. We listen carefully before offering proven successful treatments that are individualized for each of our guests.
Our luxury home is in an inspirational natural setting beside a tranquil lake. It is perfect for recovery.
Contact us today for a confidential chat to find out how we can help you or someone you love get into recovery.