During addiction treatment, you will develop many new skills that will provide a solid foundation for your recovery. These include patience with yourself and others, perseverance, self-confidence, inner calm and optimism. One trait that might not immediately come to your mind, but that will serve you well in combination with the others, is compassion. Here’s a closer look at how compassion can improve your recovery.
Rebuild Damaged Relationships
Addiction can undermine even the strongest relationships. The compulsion to continue using substances, despite the negative consequences, can lead you to do completely uncharacteristic things like lying, stealing, missing work or school and being generally irresponsible. This behavior can hit friends and loved ones hard because they have every reason to believe drugs or alcohol have become the highest priority in your life.
When you finally seek help for your addiction, you may feel intense, lingering guilt for the way you behaved, and simultaneously frustrated when your family and friends are slow to trust you again. Compassion can come in handy here because it enables you to put yourself in their shoes and understand everything they have gone through because of the disruptive presence of addiction. Caring about their suffering allows you and your loved ones the space to heal alongside each other.
Forgive Yourself So You Can Move On
Even people who agree about the benefits of showing compassion for others may not think they deserve to have compassion for themselves. If you have reasons to be ashamed of your past, you may feel as if forgiving yourself will prevent you from making future progress. However, constantly tormenting yourself over the negativity in your past is futile. It keeps you trapped in a cycle of shame, instead of working on your self-improvement.
Many times, it is easier to have compassion for others, so it might help to picture your addicted self as a different person. Think of the hopelessness and desperation addiction causes, and be compassionate toward the woman who is going through that difficult time.
Do Your Future Self a Favor
Research has proven a link between self-control and empathy. Whenever you are facing a choice between an immediate payoff and a significant long-term reward, you are choosing between your current self and your future one. One way to think of self-control, then, is as showing compassion for future you. The ability to envision who you will be a month, a year or a decade into your recovery improves your chances of success at staying sober.
Compassion for your future self is invaluable. It helps you stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even when you’d rather sleep in. It gives you the willpower to consistently attend 12-step meetings, when you’d prefer to do something else. If you view every decision as a small act of compassion, you can create a brighter tomorrow for yourself.
Start Your Recovery Today
At Canyon Crossing, our mission is to help women get in touch with who they can be without drugs and alcohol weighing down their spirits and eroding their relationships with others. We accept most major insurance plans, and we offer many of the most innovative and in-demand treatment programs available in addiction recovery. Reach out to us to learn more about our women’s-only rehab center in Arizona.