Dare to Imagine


In group the other day, a young man was struggling with cravings and urges to use. So I asked him to go up to the whiteboard and draw a “T”. On the left side, he was to list the “pros” of using; on the right, the “cons”. Here’s what he came up with in just a few minutes’ time.


It’s important to note, the last entry he made was “temporary” under “pros” of using. He readily admitted the benefits of using really wouldn’t last longer than the immediate relief he would get from his current uncomfortable feelings. And while he couldn’t come up with more “benefits” to using, he told the group he could think of more negative consequences, but wasn’t going to write them down. “Why?”, I asked.

His urge to use, to leave treatment, had passed. “I never thought to look at relapse like this. It really helps.” He looked relieved. And much more relaxed.

An alternative exercise is to draw the same “T” but on the right, list the benefits of staying clean and sober. Of course, inĀ  early recovery, it’s pretty difficult to imagine the freedom, opportunity and lust for life abstinence offers. Which is why it’s important to try anyway. List your uncensored dreams, desires, aspirations. Be creative. Be uninhibited. And think outside the box of material things.

Recovery is about way more than not-using. Dare to dream of the fullest life imaginable! And don’t be surprised when you find yourself in the middle of it someday!

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