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Continuing Education as Part of Our Recovery

Unpacking the connection between education, our recovery journeys, and the power of helping others through our experiences.

Our recovery work is comprised of many different elements that support our sobriety and help us to maintain it. For many of us, continuing our education is a highly beneficial and therapeutic part of our recovery. When we were still actively using, many of us sacrificed our interests and passions. We may have even given up on the goals we had to learn new things, to explore different subjects, and to expand ourselves. We neglected our pursuit of learning because we prioritized our substance(s) of choice, and our addictions took over our lives, to the detriment of everything else. We might have dropped out of school because we couldn’t afford our education or we may have gotten kicked out of school due to continuous emotional and behavioral struggles. Now that we’re working on our sobriety, our education is something we can pursue again. We have options. Let’s take a look at the importance of continuing education as part of the recovery journey.

As addicts, we tend to forget all of the different aspects of our identities. We seem to have forgotten that we love to learn, that we had so many different interests we wanted to pursue. We might have had dreams of following specific career paths, exploring certain areas of professional development, or converting our hobbies into full-time jobs. We might have simply wanted to learn for the sake of learning and expanding our consciousness. There might have been subjects we were always interested in and wanted to learn more about. We might have dreamt of going to college but never had the time or energy because our whole lives were dominated by our addictions. With sobriety come new and exciting opportunities to reinvent and redefine ourselves. It’s never too late to go back to school or switch careers and there’s no age limit to trying something new or exploring new or reignited passions. Telling ourselves we can’t do whatever we want to do because of our age or the place we’re at in our lives is just evidence of the limiting beliefs we’re holding onto. We can shed these beliefs and instead, choose to affirm that anything is possible for us. The sky is truly the limit. We can start to see ourselves as intelligent, curious, eager learners and explorers.

We tend to tell ourselves that because of our addictions, our capabilities are limited. It’s hard for us to imagine our lives being anything beyond what we’ve lived thus far. We have a hard time believing that a new life is possible for us. We think that our past pain is the only predictor of what’s to come in the future. As we heal, though, we start to see things differently. We have a huge perspective shift. We start to understand that if we can get sober, there really isn’t anything we can’t do. Our recovery is one of the most difficult challenges we’ll ever overcome in our lives. It’s an ongoing process and every step we take adds to our strength, resilience, and life experience. We start to see ourselves not as victims of our addictions but as survivors of them. This helps us to shift our perspective around our addiction and recovery stories, granting us renewed hope and excitement. If we want to continue our education, there is nothing stopping us but our own limiting beliefs. We are meant to transcend our limitations, not allow ourselves to stay trapped by them.

Many of us who go on to continue our education in recovery find ourselves called to help other recovering addicts and people struggling with mental health issues. We take up positions in community outreach, counseling, social work, or addiction prevention and education. We may even choose to work in an addiction recovery treatment program. We might counsel people on addiction and mental health issues. We might work with schools, helping to teach young people more about the cycles of addiction. We might partner with communities to help them curb the rise of addiction rates in their communities. Our personal experience gives us something to offer and teach others. When we translate our own healing journey into practical, meaningful lessons that other people can apply to their own lives, we start to serve others in very real ways.

The more we educate ourselves, the more we see just how pervasive addiction is and how rampant it has become in our neighborhoods, cities, and schools. We see that we are uniquely positioned, as recovering addicts, to help other people turn their lives around. When they hear our success stories and speak to us directly, we’re giving them the hugely transformative gifts of inspiration, guidance, and wisdom that can only come from lived experience. We’re giving them back their hope, as they see a better version of themselves within us. Continuing education as part of our recovery opens us up to entirely new opportunities for serving and giving back to our communities. We can encourage others to follow a similar path and continue to educate themselves.

Learning is a crucial part of staying healthy and active. Recovery shows us that we can have healthy forms of distraction from the many challenges that arise for us. We can throw ourselves into our education. Our pursuit of learning can replace the self-destructive behaviors we once gave all our energy to. We’ve learned important life skills and coping strategies in recovery and we can use those skills to move our education forward. As the recovery journey has taught us so much about ourselves and our emotional worlds, we can use that information to propel us forward and thrive. We can then, in turn, give the gift of all our knowledge to others in recovery who are just as enthusiastic as we are to become more educated, enlightened, conscious versions of themselves as they’re working to heal.

At The Guest House Ocala, our recovery programs include many experiential modalities including traditional therapy, conscious connected breathwork, equine therapy, somatic experiencing, art in healing, grief therapy, mindfulness and other forms of therapy. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.