You Have Permission to Be Hopeful
It may sound strange to be told that you have permission to be hopeful, but it’s true. Giving yourself the allowance to feel and accept hope can have a tremendous impact on your life – and the lives of others around you – in more ways than you ever thought possible.
For many of us who find ourselves waylaid by drug and alcohol addiction, hope can become an impossible or untrusted thing. It can be hard to have hope when we are lost to ourselves. It can seem pointless to have any hope at all without knowing if we will ever be free of our addictions. Then we find Jaywalker Lodge and the program of recovery, and we take the 12-Steps. We learn that we can take action to right the wrongs of our past and finally be free of them. But even after all this, feeling hope – true hope for our future in sobriety – can still elude us.
Let Go of Regret
The Big Book says “we will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it” – yet many of us still lament that lost time, and wish to shut the door on our past forever. It can help our peace of mind to remember that our past is what brought us here. All the moments of our lives, good or bad, brought us into the rooms of recovery. How can we regret what led us to the blessing of sobriety? Getting the right perspective can go a long way in improving our attitude and outlook.
Sobriety is a blessing, not a punishment. It is not an imposed sentence or penance. It is a design for living that really works and can rocket us into the fourth dimension of existence where we come “to know happiness, peace, and usefulness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes.” So maybe with this new perspective, we can finally stop regretting the past – for it brought us where we needed to be. When we can finally leave the door to the past alone, we are one step closer to putting our attention on the open doors in our present.
The How and Why of Hope
Hope is not a trick or some far-fetched daydream. It is not pointless or a waste of time. Science has shown that hope has a literal and significant impact on our lives, from our brains and bodies to our hearts and spirits. The feeling of hope has been shown to increase and improve the rate of healing in our brains and bodies. It can help us recover faster from poor health and emotional trauma. Hope can also reduce our feelings of anxiety and depression.
How can we find our way to hope again? Of course, it’s right here at Jaywalker Lodge and in the 12-Step program. Working the 12-Steps can give us so much to be hopeful about. Hope and recovery are not simply coincidental – they are connected. Almost every meeting we attend encourages us to share our “experience, strength, and hope.”
That alone might hint at the importance of hope in our lives. Hope can have wonderful benefits in our lives as we walk in recovery, and it’s a pretty common by-product of the 12-Steps – as long as we allow it to be.
Allowing Hope Back Into Our Lives
Hope can seem like a far-off future dream – something people fantasize about to avoid the present. But that is probably not the best use of hope. Many of us have dreams, goals, and things we’d like to experience or accomplish in life. Years of drugs and alcohol use likely robbed of us the ability or the opportunity to work for those things. It certainly doesn’t seem like hope is the missing ingredient when we can’t even imagine becoming hopeful in the first place.
The program of recovery taught at Jaywalker Lodge and the 12-Steps can help us clean up the past and reconcile with the present. We can see who and where we really are. Sometimes reality can be unpleasant or even scary, but the truth is that the present is a gift. If we can see ourselves clearly, with love and kindness, we can work the 12-Steps with our sponsor and our higher power and finally get to work on becoming who we want to be.
When we see where we really are in our lives, we may see some things we’d like to be different. Again, our sponsor, our higher program, and the 12-Steps can help us begin walking in the direction we’d like to head. But two things are often necessary – we must meet the present with acceptance, and we must have hope that we can grow, change, and accomplish those things.
Your sponsor, your higher power, and the 12-Steps will each give you permission to be hopeful. But in order to really experience the benefits of hope, you have to give yourself permission as well. It’s okay to believe that you’re worth it – because you are. It’s okay to hope for things, because you deserve to be happy, joyous, and free. In fact, that is exactly what the program of recovery wants for you. Letting it become okay for you to experience those things lets other people know that recovery works.
It tells the newcomer sobriety is worth it. Perhaps even more importantly, allowing ourselves to be happy and hopeful makes us a light in the lives of our loved ones. Our friends and family are thrilled to see us happy and hopeful. Those attitudes in us give everyone we meet permission to embrace them, too. You have all the permission you need to be hopeful. Give it a try.
If you feel hopeless or simply need to be reminded that you’re allowed to live a happy, joyous, and free life, Jaywalker Lodge is here for you. Don’t let hopelessness win. We can teach you how to find hope in recovery and use it to live the life you deserve. Call us today at (866) 529-9255.