Is Finding Your Passion the Key to Addiction Recovery?

We’ve been talking about passion at work recently. Not around-the-water-cooler gossip about weekend liaisons. But the kind of passion that has you up at 6 AM testing out your hiking boots and waiting for the sun to come up. Or waking like a kid on Christmas, remembering you got those new paints and brushes. Being so excited about an  idea you can’t put it in a memo, but need to run it down the hall. Tell someone (I am famous for this by the way…)!

Passion Can Take Many Forms

Passion is defined as: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. This is an important definition, because when a person is active in their addiction, enthusiasm wanes. In fact, it disappears. When I was drinking, the only thing I thought about was drinking. Where would I get the wine, where would I hide the wine and when would I be able guzzle the wine…

I’ve said it before, addiction narrows your path and limits your interests. It strips you of all the things that makes you – you. Getting it back takes time and concerted effort. Recently, I have had a number of people, new to sobriety, ask me how I did it. I usually say the following things:

My motivation was keen – I WANTED to do it

Blogging and writing!

Against everything screaming in my head to the contrary, I stopped isolating

Sleepytime Tea (Extra-Strength) became my drug of choice and I went to bed at 6:00 PM

I told a few KEY people I was not going to ever drink again…

For the first time in my life I asked for help

Shaky, scared to death, but determined, I took myself to AA meetings

I walked for miles and miles (and miles) at Guana Reserve beach.

That’s it in a nutshell. But now I want to add something. I want to add: I FOUND MY (FIND YOUR) PASSION. Because, in the sober end, you will have lots of time to fill. So fill it with something you love. And the things that have stuck for me? The passions? Let’s put it this way, it is 6:30 on a Sunday morning and I am having coffee (another new passion), writing this blog and getting ready to go for a long hike along Lake Michigan.

Whether it’s yoga or opera or lasagna, I believe that the key to addiction recovery is finding passion. Sharing that passion with a friend.  Because if you want to be at your best to do this thing, it’s a natural recovery tool. If you’re jogging past a bar, and you go past the bar instead of inside, you are rewiring your brain. Telling your brain, that being outside in the fresh air, moving your body, is a better reward.

Today I’m not drinking because I’m going to take my sober self out to see something splendid and new…

How come you’re not drinking?