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10 Wise Quotes That Can Inspire Those in Recovery


inspirationBenefiting from the wisdom of others is an effective way to get ahead in life. The problem with trying to learn by a process of trial and error is that it can lead to too much suffering; this could be particularly hazardous for those trying to build a new life following addiction. Below are ten quotes that can inspire people to get the most out of sobriety.

1. “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

Abraham Maslow

Occasionally, this quote is also written, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. It refers to the fact that those with few skills and coping strategies will also have few options for dealing with life. This piece of wisdom is a reminder to those in recovery of the importance of personal development. Failing to develop new ways of dealing with life means continuing to believe that using alcohol or drugs is the only effective way to cope with those things life throws at you.

2. “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”

Bruce Lee

The need to be right is a liability for those trying to break free of addiction. The problem is that being too caught up with the need to be right all the time prevents many from admitting their own mistakes. This means taking a wrong turning in life and continuing down that road. The sooner that those in recovery are able to admit to their mistakes, the better it will be as moving in this wrong direction is likely to lead back to alcohol or drugs. The ability to do this is easier when the person does not associate his or her self-esteem too closely with their beliefs – this means to understand that believing something that is wrong is not the same as being wrong.

3. “No personal calamity is so crushing that something true and great can’t be made of it

Bill W. (found of Alcoholics Anonymous)

It is possible to look at challenges in life negatively or positively. Viewing every problem as a personal attack could lead to depression and loss of hope; it is much healthier to view every challenge as an opportunity to grow. The reality is that each difficult situation is a learning experience so long as the person is willing to face it. Overcoming a new challenge increases the repertoire of coping strategies a person possesses, meaning that eventually they have enough of these tools to deal with anything that comes their way in life.

4. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

Ellen Parr

A common problem for those in early recovery is boredom. This is most likely to happen if the person is resistant to the idea of trying new things. Many people who have fallen into addiction suffer from a syndrome known as demand resistance; this means they automatically say no to suggestions for new activities or ideas. Some also treat sobriety as if it is a prison sentence because they are afraid to get more involved in the world. The key is to develop a deep curiosity about life and to be always experimenting; this means saying ‘yes’ more often.

5. “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

St. Augustine of Hippo

Feelings of resentment could prevent individuals from making any progress in recovery. The problem is that feeling this way does not benefit anyone. The person who is the target of the resentment does not suffer because of it; the only one who suffers is the one doing the resenting. Some actions can be very hard to forgive, but it is vital to let go of resentment, as it is just a handicap in recovery.

6. “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

Dali Lama

The benefit of doing the right things in recovery is that it leads to the right results. It is not necessary to believe in karma to appreciate the claim that actions have consequences; it can also be found in the Christian idea of ‘you reap what you sow’. Sometimes, just doing the right things might not produce the desirable results, but it does mean enjoying a positive outcome more often. Those who have been caught up in addiction will probably not need much convincing about the outcome of doing the wrong things; it is therefore reasonable to assume that the opposite is also true.

7. “Your best days are ahead of you. The movie starts when the guy gets sober and puts his life back together; it doesn’t end there.”

Bucky Sinister

Some believe that staying sober means missing all the good things in life. This happens when the person associates happiness with getting drunk or high. The reality is that it is not possible to experience true happiness in addiction because the effect of alcohol or drugs is to numb emotion. It means that only after achieving sobriety can one really begin to live and enjoy life.

8. “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”

Albert Schweitzer

One of the most effective things that can be done to improve one’s own happiness is to serve others. In fact, self-obsession is one of the main causes of suffering in life. Helping others boosts self-esteem and self-confidence, and it is a great way to put personal problems into perspective. Doing service does not have to be anything too ambitious; just smiling at other people and wishing them a nice day can make a difference.

9. “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

Alan Watts

A common reason why many suffer in life is that they become too caught up in thoughts of the past and future. This means they miss all the wonderful things in the present moment that could be enjoyed. Those who fail to live in the present moment are passing through life as zombies. As John Lennon also once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

10. “We’re a nation hungry for more joy: Because we’re starving from a lack of gratitude.”

Brene Brown

The secret to happiness in life is not to accumulate more possessions but to be grateful for what one already has. One of the most common reasons why individuals relapse after a period of sobriety is that they begin to take all the benefits of their new life for granted. This can be avoided by regularly contemplating all the good things in life – a daily gratitude journal is one way of doing this.

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