Finding the Real You

Going through the process of becoming clean and sober and moving into recovery can be a very moving experience. You spend time delving into your emotions and reflecting on your memories and choices. As you progress, you also create a new spiritual understanding or re-establish a relationship with the Father. More importantly, you begin to learn who you are as a person and as a child of God.

The Importance of Finding Yourself

When moving through the process of getting clean, many individuals will spend a large amount of their time focusing on the details of addiction. You may explore many of the initial decisions that led you to a life of addiction. Or, you may focus on the steps to recovery. Very often though, people do not spend the time to discovering their own personal foundation and this can be critical to leading the life of a successful recovering addict. Understanding who you are and what you believe defines how you see the world and what your core values are. It is your personal self-concept.

Self Concept and Addiction Treatment

Addiction is not a problem of things; it is a problem of people. It begins with a person’s choice to use and that choice often stems from their self-concept. Individual beliefs of self-image and self worth, as well as how to handle stresses and difficult situations, determine what types of choices they may make. Understanding your own personal self-view can help you immensely as you move from addiction to recovery. It allows you to understand how you approach situations and how you see yourself. Understanding your self-concept also allows you to realize why you make the choices you do. Instead of focusing on the actions, it allows you to focus on the reasons why and help you to learn your personal boundaries that will offer you a greater chance at successful, long term recovery.

Self Concept and Faith

As a Christian, you know who you are as a person stems from the Father. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God knows who we are and has a plan for each of us. Embracing this knowledge helps us to adjust our self-concept. Through God’s grace and mercy, we know we are accepted, secure, and significant. We are ‘in Christ’; therefore, we are a new creation. As believers in Christ, we belong, no longer bound to this world through the sin of our addiction, but bound to Him in love, mercy, and grace.

Self Concept and Stress

Stress plays one of the greatest roles in leading to addiction and even potential relapse. It can eat at you, wearing you down over time and increase your need for a release of some kind. But, when you know who you are and how you react, you have a better chance at learning to work through stress instead of looking for an escape from it. When you recognize your true self-concept, you can often understand the root of your stress and how to overcome it.

Uncovering Your Self Concept

If understanding yourself is so important, that how can you do it? Unfortunately, it is not an easy process, nor is it something you can usually accomplish by yourself. Your self-concept is ground in two areas: spiritual and world, with your spiritual self the most important. Knowing who you are as a child of God affects who you are in the world. Time in prayer and study of God’s Word is the most important way to establish your spiritual self. God has a clear plan for you; He has desires and wishes for you and simply wants you to know Him. The more time you spend with Him, the more you will understand His personal plan for you. Eventually, this spills over into your worldview. Of course, understanding who you are in the world is not easy either. Time spent in reflection, often with a counselor or therapist, will allow you a glimpse of your inner self. Journaling will also help you as you work to find your true self.

As recovering addicts, we know we cannot control the world around us. There are too many unknown elements surrounding us in our daily lives. We can only work to control ourselves: our choices, our responses, and our own lives. But we cannot do that if we do not know who we are. Developing our self-concept is crucial to our success as recovering addicts. It may be painful to confront certain elements in our lives, to feel the raw emotions as we tear down our walls to reveal our inner selves. But, the end result will remarkably impact who we are.