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A New Working Definition Of Recovery

A new working definition of Recovery (SAMHSA):

“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

While my book’s title seems to focus on addiction, the real message is about recovery, which is a state of living and way of thinking that applies to everyone.  Addiction is what keeps us from living in recovery.

This new definition of recovery from SAMHSA is in total congruence with not only the message in Addict America: The Lost Connection, but with many books and movies and music from around the world.  We are all Connected, and these universal themes manifest in so many ways because of that Connection.  Someone once said “There is nothing new under the sun” and this is true because no one has a thought that is not part of that higher consciousness that is available to everyone who opens themselves to it.

This SAMHSA definition expresses so beautifully what it takes to live a fulfilling, satisfying, and joyfully challenging life.  We don’t need money or power or any of the addictive substances or behaviors that we use to fill our emptiness, escape our pain, or to feel important.  We need only to be present, turn our energy outwards to engage with others and make the world a better place, and to fully express our creativity.

Recovery is for all of us.  Make a commitment to this “process of change” and experience the joy of Connection!

A Foot in Both Worlds

Last month, I spent two weeks in Ecuador taking a Spanish immersion program.  Ecuador got its name because it is on the equator and during an excursion to La Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the World) I was literally standing with a foot in each hemisphere.

Standing with a foot in both worlds is a useful metaphor.  When working with past trauma and exploring how it impacts the present, I will ask clients to put one foot in the past and one in the present.  This promotes understanding of how those past events and our beliefs about them are influencing our current interactions.  For instance, when a child is criticized for getting a “B” instead of an “A” on his report card, he takes in the message that he is inadequate.  He carries this into current situations and while his adult brain tells him he is competent and successful, that little child is inside whispering “I’m not good enough.”  The need to prove otherwise forms the basis of the addictive thinking and behavior I describe in my book, Addict America: The Lost Connection.

Putting a foot in both worlds is also a metaphor for empathy.  We disconnect from each other when we live entirely in our own heads and expect others to conform or agree with us.  Moving out of our own worlds in order to enter another person’s world is how we create a safe space for intimacy.  When we have a foot in both worlds, we can truly Connect.

This month, imagine yourself being in two places at once.  Let yourself experience another point of view, another way of being, or, as Jimmy Buffett put it, “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.”



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