THE POWER OF A MENTAL PAUSE: TIME FOR REFLECTION IS CRITICAL TO RECOVERY
Consider the experience of hitting the “pause button” for a short period of time during your day. Pausing to reflect on why sobriety is the life you desire is a powerful tool in recovery. It is important to create margin in your day to think and reflect on the deeper “Whys” of your life and reasons for choosing sobriety. Pausing is a choice to work in our inner thought life with intention. Our sub conscience is the place where we construct the inner story of our life’s work, where our memories are collected as well as corrected. Most people are uncomfortable spending time thinking on purpose. When considering reflection and purposeful thinking, Henry Ford’s quote comes to mind
“Thinking is the hardest work there is which is why so few people engage in it!”
To better understand the power of intentional thinking, think of recovery as an inner battle over your thought life. Every thought that flows through must be held captive to make it obedient to the recovery process. The longer you are persistent in the battle over your thought life, the wider the gap becomes between the recovery lifestyle you desire and the life that you are choosing to leave behind.
Recovery is a process, not just a destination. The journey is as much inward as outward. A benefit of going through a daily reflection is that it leads you to think of the core reasons you choose to live in recovery. Daily reflection leads to a cleansing on the inside. It is like cleaning the inside of the windows on your car. Thinking and reflecting allows you to make better choices because you can see clearly in the difficult times of life. The goal of recovery is healthy thinking aligned with intentional choices. When your thinking and choices align, it allows you to love yourself and others while experiencing true forgiveness. Feeling forgiveness is critical to survival on the journey of recovery.
It is helpful to regularly consider the purpose and power that a life of recovery provides to those who will commit to its practice. Recovery is a moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, day-by-day choice of your will. Your willpower is fueled by your “Why” power. Each of us must know “Why” we are choosing recovery to survive and thrive daily. Without a clear “Why,” we will cause ourselves more grief and have less gratitude for what is going on around us. The power of the PAUSE button is that we can take the time to reflect on what matters in our life, and that reflection turns our past pain into power to overcome in the future– it makes our “Why” very clear.
During your daily pause, you should always seek to remember that you are not alone and that you don’t have to be ashamed. It is natural to experience discomfort while in reflection. Feeling and facing discomfort is crucial to healthy contemplation. The goal of reflection is simply learning and growing through our past in light of our future hopes. We are on a journey to reveal our daily desire to live as a person committed to a life of meaning and not just movement. A life of freedom– not slavery to drugs and alcohol– is our desired destination.
Many people have found it helpful to think of pausing as a way to recharge and receive new inner strength. Pausing feels like wasting time, and even if your mind makes it seem like you are going the wrong direction, you must understand that it’s not. Pausing to grow in inner power has been a key to taking sobriety to another level for many. An ancient text says, “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind has stayed on God! BE STILL and know (deeply and intimately) that I am God!” Perfect peace comes from a higher power than ourselves and when we are still acknowledging our need, peace floods us like a river.
As you desire to enter into the rest and reward of living in the recovery process, let’s consider slowing down to speed up the healing process. The reward for learning to pause when you feel your inner reactor heating up is filling your heart and mind with what you truly desire: a peace that surpasses all understanding. The grace and mercy we receive is all that we posses to give others. We need to be personally filled so that we have something to give. We all have a need to believe and receive so that we can have love to give ourselves and to those around us. The blessing of pausing is that we let peace, love and healing catch up to us!