During treatment, you took an inventory of your inner thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. You might have found things you didn’t like and worked on them. However, working on yourself shouldn’t stop after treatment. Here’s why inner work is something you should take part in at least once a year after recovery.
Taking a Deep Look Inside
If you are not familiar with the term “inner work,” it simply means taking an honest look at your actions, reactions, feelings, habits, and biases that might keep you from growing and becoming a healthier person. Inner work allows you to take a step back and look at how you might be inhibiting yourself from thriving in your life. Inner work can help you address issues that affect your relationships, your ability to love yourself, and how you handle obstacles that get in your way to success.
A major component of addiction recovery involves elements of inner work. This is because substance use is deeply connected to the inner workings of your psyche. Many who use illicit drugs often use them to respond to trauma or cope with unwanted emotions. Inner work allows you to address those reasons from an honest perspective and clear out the debris that might be blocking you from reaching your full potential.
Your Annual Oil Change
During treatment, you might have started some inner work in one-on-one therapy or group therapy. You might have reached major breakthroughs that helped you achieve sobriety. However, even though you did the work in treatment, it does not mean that you don’t need to address your inner workings ever again.
Imagine inner work like an oil change. Once your car reaches a specific mileage, you need to change your oil again. This is because your engine becomes clogged with debris, and the oil can turn into sludge, ruining your engine over time. In a sense, this is similar to inner work. Life is constantly throwing new things at you, both good and bad. Thus, it becomes beneficial and even paramount to take action necessary to clear out the debris.
There Are Still Things to Process
Depending on your life experience, there might be a laundry list of things that you still need to process. As we know, life isn’t always easy. The most privileged person can still become exposed to hardship, like losing a loved one or experiencing abuse. Some things might still be unraveling that might have been suppressed because you weren’t ready to deal with them. Some things affected you in ways you might not even have realized.
Ask Yourself the Tough Questions
There are plenty of benefits to inner work, but many people don’t know where to start. If you find yourself unready to address specific traumas, that’s okay. What you can do in the meantime is ask yourself the difficult questions that will help pull the thread. Even asking yourself to confront your biases is a good starting point.
Questions you could ask yourself include:
- What do I want people to know the least about me?
- What emotions am I least comfortable expressing?
- What do I tend to project onto others?
- What makes me overreact?
Inner Work Should Feel Uncomfortable
Looking deep within yourself isn’t always a pleasant experience, which is why many people shy away from it. There are a lot of uncomfortable feelings that surface when we take a deep look at ourselves. We might feel shame, guilt, anger, hurt, and sadness because many of our issues come from the pain we have experienced. The discomfort is normal, however, and a sign that you are tapping into something meaningful.
Like pulling out a splinter, inner work might hurt at first. However, once you’ve released what is holding you back and your perspective starts to change, you’ll be glad that you started. Breakthroughs during inner work can be a massive cause of relief for someone partaking in it. Once you’ve found out what has been holding you back all this time, you can let it go and move forward.
A Challenge Worth Taking On
Inner work isn’t easy. It takes a lot of strength to address your weaknesses. Being aware of our biases and limitations can be difficult. It is easy to ignore our internal issues and allow ourselves to keep living the same way, even if that too is painful. However, holding ourselves accountable and facing our problems will enable us to grow. Bushes need pruning, and gardens need weeding. People need the same tending.
If you’re interested in beginning inner work, talk with your therapist about how they can assist you. They can advise you on where to start and how to tread these waters carefully. If you are tackling a specific trauma, make sure to address the trauma with a trauma-informed therapist to avoid re-triggering yourself. Inner work should be a part of your annual check-up. Take time to process the events of this year and the years before to allow yourself room to grow in your life. Inner work can be a valuable process to those hoping to remain healthy and sober in their life. Addressing hidden issues can ensure there are no surprises. Jaywalker Lodge offers therapy to all clients in our treatment center, as well as alumni interested in continuing aftercare services. We offer one-on-one and group therapy. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at (866) 529-9255.