The Importance of Hope in Addiction Recovery
By George Ratnanather. Updated January 6, 2021.
Recovering from an addiction is a complex process. The road is never smooth. In fact, you will probably encounter obstacles, hardships and heartaches. But it’s a journey that everyone hoping to recover from addiction must make. It is the only way to move from a life of destruction to life of health, wellness and joy.
While there are many paths to recovery, there is one element that is constant–and that’s hope. But why is hope so important in recovery?
The Importance of Hope in Recovery
Hope is more than mere wishful thinking; it is the bedrock upon which you build your recovery. Without hope, or a desire to recover, there would be no motivation to get better. With no motivation, there would be very little meaningful action. Finally, with proper action comes improvement through a series of steps leading to a plan for recovery, and working the plan for years to come. I cannot stress harder the significance of hope in recovery.
What is ‘hope’?
Each of us defines hope differently. But in essence, hope is the expectation that things in the future will be better; knowing that the sun will shine again.
Relating to addiction recovery, hope becomes a foundation and the energy that drives us to find a way to get better and heal. It keeps us strong when we encounter challenges. And hope gives us a sense of joy and peace, knowing that a better tomorrow exists.
When preoccupied in an addictive substance or behaviour, it not always easy to see a life beyond the addiction; beyond the chaos, pain and suffering. But hope can be found. There is no right or wrong way to find hope. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes we need to work to find hope.
Below are a few ways that have helped our clients find hope even during times of deep despair.
Listen to Stories of Hope
Hearing stories of hope, success and triumphs of others can help us find hope. These stories not only inspire us, but also shed light on strategies of finding and sustaining hope even during the darkest times. We try to share as many stories of hope on our blog, but there are so many sources to discover online: on blogs, social media (like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest), podcasts, etc. Finding someone you know or who speaks about their experience often can be really helpful to follow or bookmark for more regular inspiration!
Think of the Future
Look into the future and identify who and what is important to you. It could be a loved one, such as a child, spouse or parent. It can also be an event or something you always wanted to do. Looking into the future helps cultivate a purpose and direction in life (i.e. hope).
Though a simple process, positive affirmations do work. The repetition of positive affirmations leads to belief, and belief is at the heart of hope. Affirmations such as ‘I am strong, I can overcome my challenges, I am a new person, I feel new hope and I can recover’ rebuild a sense of self-worth and your belief that you are capable of achieving your goals. Not only do affirmations build belief, but also a confidence and a drive for change and action.
Leaning on a Higher Power
Many find hope by reaching for a higher power. This could be through spirituality, religion or philosophy. Reaching to a higher power is actually Step 2 in the 12-Step Process: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. Simplified, this reads as, ‘There is help for my problem and I believe I can address it’.
Accept Your Current Situation
For some, it may be hard to accept that they are currently in a bad place. But the courage of acceptance is the first step in desiring a better future (i.e hope). Acceptance helps us realize that our current situation is not where we want to be, and helps us develop a vision of where we want to be. Without acceptance, we cannot take control of our destiny to reach a better tomorrow.
Have Realistic and Meaningful Plan
It is action that makes hopes come true. By the mere fact of developing a plan for a better future, you will build hope. The more your plan has firm action steps and dates, the more successfully you will come to realize that your vision is truly attainable. If you’re working on a self-guided plan, try finding tools online like SMART goal setting or some tips to develop a successful recovery plan.
The journey and recovery from addiction is never an easy one. No one can last long and keep fighting for recovery without hope. Hope is a central ingredient in our recovery. Finding hope and meaning, together with a solid plan, helps us move forward on our journey of recovery.
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope” – Martin Luther
EHN Canada Can Help You
If you would like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by EHN Canada, enroll yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at one of the numbers below. Our phone lines are open 24/7—so you can call us anytime.
- 1-800-387-6198 for Bellwood Health Services in Toronto, ON
- 1-587-350-6818 for EHN Sandstone, in Calgary, AB
- 1-800-683-0111 for Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo, BC
- 1-888-488-2611 for Clinique Nouveau Depart in Montreal, QC
Seventh Annual Recovery Run brings hundreds together to raise hope, help others
Thousands are already part of the Edgewood Treatment Centre family. But one seven-year-old member is doing plenty to make sure that family keeps growing.
The seventh annual Run For Recovery, a twilight tradition along the comfortable mulch shores of Nanaimo, British Columbia’s Westwood Lake, is set for another instalment next month.
On Friday, June 23, alumni, staff, their family members and members of the Nanaimo and Central Vancouver Island community at large will come together to raise funds to combat addiction and raise awareness that recovery is possible and available.
And if you are connected to the Edgewood Health Network, or if recovery advocacy is your thing, then if you’re on Vancouver Island in June, come on down!
This year’s Run For Recovery features all the perks that have helped raise over $100,000 in the first six years of the event. First, there’s the food – what would a warm evening out on the lake be without scrumptious food? Throughout the event, Edgewood’s own Bridges Dining Kitchen crew will be under the big tent on-site, flipping burgers and hot dogs. A high-end Silent Auction features all sorts of items and events: BC Lions football game getaways, fishing charters, Harbour Air flights, items, gift baskets and certificates from local businesses, and more. While fun bidding battles get going over the big packages, there are plenty of little skirmishes on the dining, golfing, arts and other categories of gift items too – all for a great cause, and all in great fun.
While music sets the mood, the family atmosphere always includes a competitive side of the event. Though many people choose a leisurely walk with their children and/or pets, some have a lot of fun trying to beat their run time from years gone past. Others just try to beat their buddies. Either way, there will be prizes awarded for fastest times in Men, Women, Youth, Family and Team categories. And for the zanier, outside of the box crowd, prizes will be awarded for Costumes.
A Bouncy Castle donated by an alumnus keeps the little ones giggling, while face-painted youngsters grin and wander about. All in all, it’s a full-on Edgewood family fun event.
The sobering message behind the event, however, is not forgotten in the fun, given the brutality of the current opioid crisis across the province and in the Central Vancouver Island. Last year, 912 died in illicit drug-related overdoses, 153 of them on Vancouver Island. In the first two months of 2017, another 219 more are gone, 39 from the Island. This March alone there were 120 suspected drug overdose deaths in B.C. – up 51.9 percent from the previous March, according to the BC Coroners Service, most between the ages of 19 and 50. The Times-Colonist Newspaper reported last month that although more than 7,000 Naloxone kits have been distributed on the Island, in the past 13 months there have been over 1,676 overdose-related emergency room visits.
In years past, the funds raised from Edgewood’s Fun Run have been targeted to the Edgewood Foundation, educating people about addiction, and clearing the way for free treatment at Edgewood for several fortunate applicants. But this year, given the critical situation with opioids, Edgewood has teamed up with the mid-Island chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association and their efforts to combat the crisis.
With its vision of mentally healthy people in a healthy society, the CMHA will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018, as a nation-wide leader and champion for mental health. The CMHA’s mid-Island branch provides mental health promotion and mental illness recovery-focused programs and services for people of all ages and their families. Services include housing and homeless outreach, employment support, a social centre in Nanaimo and a frozen meals program in Courtenay.
“Given the seriousness of the opioid crisis, it just seemed like the right fit to team up with, and donate the funds raised at the run, to CMHA,” said Colleen Ward, director of the Edgewood Health Network’s western operations.
With this family fun event set, a great cause to get behind, and a location like no other in the central Island, the benefits of taking part in the Edgewood Fun Run can’t be beat.
The whole event costs a grand total of $30 per person, with a check-in time of 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. race start. Please consider helping out by registering early, and if you have a smashing gift idea for the Silent Auction, please donate it by calling Bonnie at Edgewood at 1-800-683-0111 or 250-751-0111. Call the same numbers to register or go to www.events.runningroom.com for more information.