(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Narcissism is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. The “selfie society” that exists in a world of social media has some people saying we are more concerned with ourselves than ever. The new heightened sense of self-promotion causes many to feel we have become less interested in true connection with others. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with healthy self-love. Some may see it as simply embarking on self-exploration and celebration. Others may see it as self-seeking and being conceded. Are you more conscious, or are you pretentious? Are you introspective or disconnected?
At times the distinction becomes blurred, and that might not be your fault. Sometimes others will perceive us differently and it’s not our responsibility to change their minds. Sometimes people are afraid to give themselves the self-love they need because they don’t want to seem self-centered, but isn’t there a strong difference between self-love and narcissism?
Let us be clear; narcissists seem to love themselves to an extreme, with the exclusion of others. This is often considered as a feature of a mental health disorder and includes an excessive interest in one’s self, especially physical appearances. It is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.
If you were to look up the definition of narcissism, you would probably find it also described as a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in various self-report inventories of personality.
Narcissism is most typically considered an issue in an individual’s or group’s relationships with self and others.
Let us also be clear that narcissism is not the same as egocentrism. It is true that both egocentrism and narcissism appear comparable. However there is a distinct difference.
Much like a narcissist, a person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention. However, this individual does not receive gratification by one’s own admiration, as the narcissist does. In other words, the egocentric individual must receive validation and admiration from outside itself, so the self-love aspect is not so much an issue from the egocentric perspective.
Self-love is being more subject to the broad-stroke of “narcissism” over time, but should be viewed in a different light. For example, two forms of narcissism are not considered to be as detrimental:
Freud suggested that, simply put, the desire and energy that drives one’s instinct to survive is something he dubbed primary narcissism. This sense of self-preservation is supposedly ingrained in everyone as a sense of self that protects us, without abandoning empathy or loving others.
The “healthy narcissist” can be characterized as possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life. This expression of self-love, or “health narcissism,” is about having a honest appraisal of ones worth, and still valuing others.
All of this brings us back to the question; How can we love ourselves in a way that feels good and enhances the quality of our lives, but isn’t narcissistic?
Research finds four consistent differences between healthy self-love and narcissistic love. Take a look at these 4 questions that can help you with self-love vs narcissism.
Do I need to be validated by others?
Narcissists need the validation of others; it is a primary motive for a lot of their actions. A true narcissist craves constant affirmation. They need to be verified by others because they haven’t created a self-sustaining sense of worthiness or self-compassion. They may seem to hold themselves highly, however they have no genuine instinct of high self-regard.
The narcissist will do things to win praise and recognition. They seek materials as tools to measure their own worthiness. Even the people they develop relationships with are possessions they use as a means of validation.
Healthy self-love is fundamentally different in the sense of measuring self-worth. With health self-love, an individual’s internal values are a primary influence of their actions. They behave in a way that is consistent with those values, and these convictions help to sustain their good feelings about themselves.
In other words, basing your self-worth on your beliefs, instead of what others may believe about you, is self-love.
Am I focusing on my appearance or my performance?
This isn’t just for the sake of aesthetics either. It ties right into the last question.
A true narcissist will often make a great actor. They play many parts, such as:
- Caring friend
- Devoted lover
- Good employee
But they are better at keeping up appearances than actually performing the role with expertise and aptitude. Like when an action movie hero does well at looking like they beat up a room full of ninjas, but in reality they have CGI and stunt doubles.
A narcissist doesn’t invest too much emotionally in the actual quality of their performance. They don’t mind how their role as a friend or lover actually impact the other person, they just want to make it look good, especially if other people are looking. It is another form of validation.
People with authentic self-love take real care in doing a good job and taking responsibility for their part in things, particularly in relationships. So it is very acceptable to be concerned with your contribution to relationships and how you impact others, because in a way you earn your own self-love from the way you treat others.
Am I focusing on comparison or compassion?
Another huge piece of this puzzle is comparison. How do you perceive others in contrast to yourself?
Typically, narcissists are not self-loving or secure in their worth. Because of this, they often seek to compare ourselves with others. Now this isn’t especially exclusive to full-blown narcissism, because we all have a tendency to try and measure up.
But the narcissist will thrive on the belief that they are better than, or even the best. We all feel better about ourselves when we are accomplished or exceptional at something, but to require to always outshine others is a little more relevant to narcissism. The focus here isn’t so much on us being able to appreciate our own achievement as much as it is the need for other people to be less. In order for a narcissist to be more, other people have to be beneath them. It isn’t self-worth; it is self-inflation through the dispossession of others.
Healthy self-love and self-esteem is based on believing that we have a number of positive qualities, and that other people have such qualities. It puts us on a more level playing field and allows us to be compassionate whether or not someone is as accomplished in something as we are. So it is OK to excel at something, as long as you don’t make it about other people being less.
Do emotions and attitudes seem “black and white?”
We have mentioned before the real dangers of black and white thinking. In the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi,
“Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
Basically, the issue is that some people only let it be one of two ways. It has to be black or white, no room for grey area or compromise.
Research indicates a narcissists tends to either love or hate things. They don’t to tolerate the middle ground. Usually, something with themselves or others is either preferable and exceptional or totally unacceptable. They are either everything or nothing, instead of just letting it be.
As a result, when we can’t abide our own uncomfortable feelings, we’re more likely to project them onto others. Once we force those feelings onto others we create conflict, isolation, and self-disillusionment.
Healthy self-love allows us to tolerate uncertainty. It is important to have self-love because with a strong sense of self-love we have the ability to experience our own vulnerability. Where a narcissist feels angry or intolerant of their own vulnerability, a healthy, self-loving person will naturally resort to self-compassion. This same compassion for ourselves gives us a chance to feel more connected to others.
So don’t look at self-compassion as “letting yourself off the hook,” look at it as accepting your imperfections with humility.
Recovery is Self-Love
At the end of the day, what is the moral of the story here?
Is it OK to just assume that people who have a high opinion of themselves, who believe in their own capacity to be unique and successful, and who value and respect their own impact on other people should be considered narcissists? Should the term “healthy narcissist” be something we swap for self-love once in a while to consider it as a virtue?
In recovery we hear a lot about how addicts and alcoholics are especially selfish. As often as we are told this, should we also be reminded to use our own nature as selfish people in recovery to shape that sense of self into something more constructive and empowering instead of thinking we need to abandon it completely?
Let us not be so quick to label one another as narcissists, and learn to love ourselves thoroughly as we learn again to love each other.
Mental health and self-esteem is extremely important in regards to addiction recovery. Holistic treatment programs like Palm Partners are specifically designed to address unique issues in unique ways. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Mental and emotional strength and stability are not always easy to develop, although many would say it is easier to fake. While some people do legitimately have a stronger sense of self naturally, others will live off a pattern of protecting themselves mentally and emotionally through acting tough. Acting tough may meet your needs as far as a quick fix, boosting the ego as a defense mechanism. Still, the tough act is not a strategy that is sustainable.
Mental strength is not to say you are stronger or smarter than anyone. Lacking in mental strength does not mean you don’t have the same capacity for thought and understanding, it just means when the pressure is potently applied there is more of a chance that you will suffer. Some people think that the tough act will help them improve their mental strength. However acting tough just fakes strength while not allowing people to grow.
Here are some differences between mental strength and putting on a tough act.
The tough act typically has that element of outward ego that proclaims the individual as the best thing breathing. The person will have an overcompensating confidence that insists upon itself. However the truth behind it is the person is overrun with their insecurities. They refuse to expose any weakness, which hinders connection with others.
People with mental strength will actually admit to their faults and invest energy and time into self-improvement. These people realize that while they may fall, they are still able to grow.
When it comes to falling down, the person using the tough act will insist that failure is not an option. They will never surrender or accept defeat, which means they cannot learn from their losses. The irony is that this attitude rarely prevents people from losing. Meanwhile it blocks them off from trying something new later because the ego fears the loss.
People who have mental strength understand that every failure is just a stepping stone to greatness. Mentally strong individuals view every shortcoming as an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work and build off their new perspective. These people know they fall so they can learn how to get back up.
- Denying the Self
The tough act has a pretty recognizable symptom in most cases- the individual only expresses their emotions when it comes to anger. This person will deny their pain, sadness, fear and even excitement. When it comes to pain they would rather grit and bear it then let anyone see them sweat. This again prevents them from growing through their pain and even from setting boundaries.
Mental strength will show itself for what it is. When this person feels fear or sadness they will be honest with others and with themselves. But just because they express these feelings doesn’t mean they let them dictate their lives. Their ability to be self-aware and expressive lets them monitor how their emotions impact their behaviors and their relationships.
This is probably one of the most common traits of people who try to act tough as oppose to actually having mental strength. The tough act will have someone trying to appear as if they are in control, having power over others and dominion over any situation. They try to force their will onto people and circumstances to make sure things go their way because it creates an illusion of strength and superiority.
However, true mental strength comes from having self-control, not controlling others. This individual wants to understand and manage their emotions by directing their own thoughts and perspective because they understand that they are only responsible for their own reaction to any given situation. They know their strength comes from their ability to adapt, not from trying to force life to go their way.
For people who rely on the tough act, it is not to say you have no mental strength, it just means you could build on it holistically to determine where you rely on a misguided ego instead of developing your mental and emotional muscles. The more practice you actually put into exercising mental strength the more you will let go of the act. By changing your strategy and adopting a new attitude toward these feelings you actually better prepare yourself for the journey ahead. When the tough gets going, the tough act doesn’t cut it without the mind to follow through.
In recovery from drugs and alcohol, mental strength is something we have to learn in order to grow and flourish. It is not always easy to break these habits, but if we can separate from the substance and get the foundation we need we have a great shot at becoming stronger than we ever thought possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
When I say this, I say it with absolute certainty; the people around me today that I have the privilege of calling my friends have saved my life.
I mean if I’m being completely honest, there is a group text that has probably saved me from my insanity more times than I can count… those 3 guys know who they are… (Insert emoji hands).
Recently I’ve talked about me feeling feels and what-not, and to be honest I’ve been through some things recently that has brought this subject to the forefront of my life… If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would have the kind of men and women in my life today I share this level of love and respect with, I would have thought you were on more drugs than me.
Now before I hurt any old friends, I had some friends before I got sober that were of the same caliber, but I failed to recognize them for the true relationships they were. Resentment and selfishness kept me from seeing the people around me who actually loved me unconditionally, even so with my family, and the fact I can see their compassion and understanding in retrospect is largely due to the lessons I have learned through the friends I have today from being in recovery.
I just want to take some time to talk about some ways these bonds have changed me, and for all intents and purposes saved me from myself. I want to honor the people who have given me more than I could ever expect from individuals who planted the seed of fellowship in my life as strangers, and have grown to become vital extensions of the happiness I have found in the world.
In so many ways these people have worked in my life in a way that is nothing short of spiritual, and they have enriched every element of my life. I am who I am thanks to them.
Breaking My Ego
I have a few friends (yea, especially those 3) who I never wanted to be friends with in the first place. Some of them I couldn’t wait to hate, and we had nothing but contempt when we met.
Then my ego was broken, because as I stuck around and as I listened more and lashed out less I realized I wasn’t any better than these people, and in fact looked up to them. They were just like me, and who was I to try and belittle anyone when I was afraid of being who I really was anyway.
Soon, either after living in close proximity in a halfway house after rehab, or by being forced to see one another by meetings and mutual friends, we developed a new respect for one another. I heard their stories and what drove them, I learned about their ambitions and their hardships and ultimately came to admire many of them for every inch of footwork they accomplished in their own sobriety.
And when they hurt, I hurt with them.
My ego was constantly shattered by sharing mutual struggles with others and understanding that it wasn’t all about me, and that my troubles were not as unique and complex as I liked to believe.
Today as close friends they continue to remind me when my motives exist only in my sense of self, and when I do not act in the spirit of helping others. My friends save my life constantly when they remind me that if what I say is not followed up with what I do, then I can talk (text and type) all the game I want, but if I don’t put forth the action I am just another shell of the person I have potential to be.
And when I let my ego rule my life, a drink or a drug is not too far behind. Humility was taught to me through caring about these people, and caring less about my ego’s perception of them.
Principles and Philosophy
My life today only exists as it is because of the implementation of some form of a spiritual practice. In my own experience I cannot expect to stay sober without it, and the ones closest to me today have helped save me by sharing their philosophies and experiences with me in way that give me a broader and yet more intrinsically intimate understand of what spirituality can mean, and why I needed it.
I have friends who are devoted in their faiths, and I have friends who believe in no denomination or sect belonging to any understanding of god, and I can say today I am auspiciously blessed to have both… because as I learned to separate myself from the hopelessness drugs and alcohol had subjugated my life with, I was given conceptions and catalysts of new hope from definitively different ideologies, all embracing the freedom to choose for yourself.
I was taught by people with religious beliefs that diligence and having a kind of fearless faith, without doubt of purpose, can be precisely powerful ways to relieve myself of the mental and emotional baggage addiction had weighed me down with my whole life.
I was taught by men and women with no religious beliefs that it doesn’t take knowing a god to be a good person, and that making an honest and compassionate contribution to humanity is in itself a spiritual practice I can’t begin to put a price on.
They all taught me that practical application of the principles and philosophies I created for myself was the surest way to serenity, and this saved my life because I lean on that idea of spiritual freedom and love for my fellows when life makes me senseless… which is basically always. The God of my understand works through the friends I have, and all people.
Love and Gratitude
Without love the kind of friendship I’m talking about is unfeasibility, and I got nothing but love for the people in my life that are part of my circle. Most people know you can have all kinds of ‘acquaintances’ and ‘peers’ but the title of ‘friend’ I’m speaking on is something else.
These are the down for anything, tell it like it is (especially when it hurts), ride until the wheels fall off type of friends. Not everyone is this fortunate, and sometimes the people who are don’t see how grateful they should be. Gratitude is everything.
The kind of love I have experienced from the men and women dearest to me today is indescribable. That feeling of belonging cannot be explained, and in reality this is part of what I was looking for all along in active addiction and alcoholism… this fulfillment through love.
These people stand behind me regardless of what others might think of them, and respect my truth whether they understand it or not. These men and women believe in my capacity to succeed and be the man I should be with irrefutable conviction and patience, especially when I doubt myself.
A lot of my friends today in recovery are people that saw me in the beginning who have helped me change, who share my understanding of my illness. They have seen the despair, and they have held me up when I had suffered. Today I have brothers who believe I am worth something, and who know who I am… even when I forget.
They remind me why it is OK to not be OK, and they have taught me that my happiness doesn’t depend on where I end up, but is defined by the incredible people I travel that path through hell and back with.
They saved my life by reminding me why I should be grateful to be alive, and one of the things I am the most grateful for is the presence of these amazing people, and the love it brings to my life.
This is my family… my fellowship; part of the awesome and inspiring expedition through sobriety that was given to me when I destroyed every relationship around me. This article is just me saying thank you to every last one of you, and trying to show someone out there that a familiar face, even a rival, can end up making an impact that changes everything. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Photo of Author
Author: Justin Mckibben
“The first year is a gift.”
That’s what they kept telling me when I first came to the rooms of recovery. When I first got to treatment and heard people who had been through the process, when I went to 12 step meetings and listened to speakers tell their experience, it was that same tag-line it seemed every time… “The first year is a gift.”
To me that seemed strange. How?!
I felt in my mind I was going to have to fight just for 30 days… even 3 days or 3 hours was insanity for me without the drugs and the alcohol numbing me to my own obsessive and inexorable emotional immaturity. So 365 days of consecutive sobriety?! Sounded more like a nightmare, disguised as an urban legend and gift-wrapped in a paradox.
But it happened. That miracle did come one amazing day at a time, and before I knew it I had a coin in my hand that told me it all wasn’t just a practical joke or a “pink cloud”. I had actually survived myself for 1 year without a drink or a drug, and thinking back it didn’t make sense how much a gift the first year was until it was over.
I presumed it was going to be desolation and abjection trying to change, and at times it was not easy, but if I’m honest with myself the action suggested of me was not even hard!
Read, make lists, talk about stuff, make more lists, evaluate my defaults and habits, talk some more, etc. This stuff was not a collage or a science project… it was simple stuff. And through that process, and through reviewing my work with new understanding I realized one of the most important things recovery ever taught me:
Life is Not All about Me
I’m the weird brand of narcissist with an inferiority complex, but deep down, in that pit of self-loathing and fear I still wanted to believe I was the center of the universe. I lived a life fundamentally selfish and self-seeking. I just disguised it well with false compassion and empty connections. I made everything about me, whether to feel better about not liking myself, or to manipulate the world into giving me what I wanted.
I got a sponsor, and when I complained one of his favorite pieces of advice was to shut-up, and do something for someone else. Help someone. To step outside of myself, and try to impact another life in a positive way, however I could.
In the steps there were things I had to do that were essential to realizing life isn’t about me.
Looking at yourself through the honest reflection of your misdeeds can truly open you up to how much ‘not about me’ life really is. Taking an inventory on my actions showed me the hurt I created, and the truth behind why I did the things I did.
More often than not, it was selfishness, being inconsiderate, and fear.
This stuff helped me out in the end, but it was proven that my serenity and my happiness were real and authentic when it wasn’t just about that ME mentality anymore.
My sobriety came with understanding that I had done so much to those people who loved me the most. I had destroyed others, and I had hurt people, and I was still trying to focus on my own petty wants and resentments even in early sobriety.
Amends and similar actions showed me some much needed humility, and taught me what I now believe- humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking or yourself less.
Taking responsibility and owning up to the damage I did to others made it possible to identify with and avoid it in the future.
Freedom came when I put faith in what was put in front of me, and a lot of that had to do with the opportunity to connect with others, by being honest, open and vulnerable. In friendships and in dating relationships.
The fellowship taught me how to learn through others, and how to truly relate to and appreciate those around me. I learned in my first year that there are so many people who want that chance, to be free from their addictions and to make honest and fulfilling relationships with people they can really care about.
In the first year of sobriety I learned my relationships mean more than what I gain from others. They mean what I put in for others, and what we accomplish together. They also mean knowing when to set boundaries that are healthy, and how to check my motives before I do things I have no business doing.
Those relationships I have are what they are because doing the work in the first year showed me that my ego and my will-power don’t make me a better friend, or a better brother or son. Actually caring about my friends and family, and taking the action is what does that.
It’s a Selfless Program
In the first 365 days of sobriety I learned that continuous action to serve and have an affirmative impact on others is the key to my sanity. The insanity of active addiction and alcoholism was the stuff of nightmares, and the isolated world of ME was killing me. You can do some things for you, but it was freed from the bondage of self by learning to live with consideration and respect for others. It is not about being selfish, but trying to strive to be selfless.
I don’t always do this perfectly. I still have an ego, negative or otherwise, but at least my first year showed me how to be aware of it. The gift of desperation showed me that I was in need of saving, the gift of opportunity to take action put me in a position to give, and the gift of giving has never been so imperative to my peace of mind.
That’s 8,760 hours…
I need to give away as much of it as I can to helping someone else if I believe in making it to another 365.
While our lives should consist of the things we are passionate about, the things that we love and the people who love us, we are not the only ones in life that matter. One thing I learned in my first year sober is that it is not always up to me, and at the end of the day it’s not supposed to be. Sobriety saved me from myself when the drugs and alcohol that took the meaning from life, and that all started at Palm Partners. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Spirituality is something that so many people pursue openly and passionately, seeking and searching for new and fascinating connections to a world beyond sight, a world that breathes life into this life, and brings us closer to inner peace, to nature, to energy and each other.
Those who seek spirituality with humility, and especially those seeking spirituality in recovery, can see and respect the ways which our spiritual views are different. But regardless our perspectives and experiences can frequently become infected by toxic concepts that get in the way of our spiritual truth.
Due to the fact that most of our compromised spiritual connection is due to a confused and often immature understanding of complex spiritual principles, it can seem invisible and deceptive, nevertheless it is imperative we become able to acknowledge our own shortcomings to better grow. Here is the 6 most common spiritually transmitted diseases.
- Band-Aid Spirituality
When people subject their spirituality to culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification, and the result is likely to be Band-Aid spirituality.
Band-Aid spirituality is exhibited by the unrealistic expectation that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be obtained quickly and easily, but anyone who has undergone a spiritual transformation knows that it often takes time to create any real spiritual development.
- Trendy Spirituality
Trendy spirituality is when people are putting all their effort into the outside instead of inner enlightenment. They want to talk, dress and act as they imagine a spiritual person would, and they typically use whatever trendy ‘spirit’ topics they can to seem well informed.
It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics organic spiritual realization, but has not been based on an actual personal experience.
- Misguided Spirituality
Although our desire to grow can be genuine and pure in essence, it can sometimes mix with lesser motivations. While these motivations are not unworthy reasons, and many would dispute that it does not matter what brings you to your journey as long as you are committed to it, some would insist that spirituality should come from a place of seeking and growing, not to ‘fit in’ or shield us from the world. Motivations like:
- The wish to be loved and to belong
- The need to fill our emotional emptiness
- The desire to remove all our suffering and ambition
These may be part of your path, but many would attest that true spirituality often means accepting these things as they are, and not trying to force our will on them.
- Egoic Spirituality
In the disease of addiction, the ego is the great enemy and it identifies with our spiritual experience and takes the credit as its own. This is like when people say someone is speaking to people from a ‘spiritual hilltop’.
Egoic Spirituality is when the very structure of our egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that grows far beyond control, and justifies itself through spiritual concepts.
When the ego becomes spiritualized, people think they are unassailable to help, new input, or constructive feedback from peers. They believe they embody spiritual concepts, take pride in all spiritual growth, and hold it over the heads of others. Plainly put, Egoic spirituality makes a person think they are better than everyone on a spiritual level, and puts them in a position to be a judge of others.
- Cultic Spirituality
Also described as group-think, Cultic Spirituality is an insidious infection that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. When a spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act while holding others to their standards, it is a form of Cultic Spirituality.
Individuals and groups infected with Cultic spirituality reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of that group.
It is like the ‘chosen people complex’, or a case of Egoic spirituality that has taken form of a group instead of just an individual.
- Finalized Spirituality
Finalized spirituality is such a dangerous affliction that it has the capacity to be fatal to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that “I have arrived” at the final goal of the spiritual path, and there is no further I can go or no more I can learn. Finalized Spirituality is the idea that you have dominated the spirit, and have no more to learn or look for. It is commonly stated, especially in the rooms of recovery, that in order to stay sane and stay sober we should remain humble, and we should definitely remain teachable.
Our spiritual progress ends at the point where the idea we have maximized our spirituality is carved as a fact in our psyche. The moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases, and we truly cannot transcend because we have cut ourselves off from the sunshine of the spirit.
Spirituality and Sobriety
Spiritually Transmitted Diseases that we encounter on the path are not untreatable. 100% of spiritual people will come into contact with at least one of these diseases. As we seek discernment, and as we discover clarity, real maturity requires us to continually unfold deeper levels of spiritual integration, and to admit to any error and refine our knowledge with humility and gratitude.
All that growth is especially important to individuals in recovery. A lot of what people striving for sobriety learn is that spirituality and seeking spiritual principles is an important part of learning how to stay sober and become a better person for a lot of us. To step into divine energy and grow in love and understand, all of us in recovery should keep an eye out for Spiritually Transmitted Diseases that will hinder our evolution in sobriety. Know that learning is growing, and sometimes being wrong can mean we’re growing right.
Recovery, like life, has some ups and downs and we all must learn how to get through the tougher times and grow into our principles and our purpose in sobriety. We re-learn who we are, sometimes over and over again. Sometimes we let go of the faith and the belief systems we used to live by, and create new connections that help us become the best versions of ourselves without drinking and using drugs. But it all starts with putting in some effort and making a choice for transformation. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135