Having been in recovery from drug addiction for three and a half years, I have found many useful tools in my healing process. Certain principles and/or virtues have stuck out to me as especially beneficial. From gratitude to service work, we have many simple practices available to us that can be of great help when healing.
In my personal experience, humility is one of the most basic virtues for growth. We must be careful not to confuse humility with being humiliated. Humility is a form of self-honesty. If we are acting humbly, we are able to admit we may not know what to do all the time. We know we do not have all of the answers. Humility lays the foundation for us to be willing to grow.
Honesty is a basic virtue that is found in many religious and spiritual traditions. Honesty is vital if we are to heal. When we speak with others, we must be honest about what is going on, what we are feeling, and what we are thinking. However, we must often be honest with ourselves before we are able to be honest with others. Self-honesty goes along with humility; we must humbly be able to admit to ourselves that something is wrong or that we are in need.
When we practice humility, we are able to better reach out and connect with others. There are over seven billion people on the planet, each with a unique experience. The practice of reaching out to others is an invaluable tool in our growth. If we are humble, we are able to ask for help, listen to others, and learn from somebody else’s experience. Connecting with other people is something that is healthy for all of us, even if we enjoy our solidarity.
Gratitude is one of the most basic spiritual principles that we can utilize. When we are suffering, we often lose sight of the things we have to be grateful for. By practicing gratitude, we come to appreciate our lives. For example, the World Literacy Foundation reports that over 750 million people in the world cannot read. We can practice gratitude for simple things like being able to read Virtues for Life’s posts. Gratitude is powerful, and can pull us out of hopelessness and into appreciation for our lives.
When we have the blues, we often have a habit of thinking things happen to us. Our lives may not be exactly as we wish, and sometimes stuff happens. However, the virtue of accountability helps us take control over our reaction to the inevitable events of the world. Being accountable for our own actions, we take things into our own hands, especially finding a solution to problems we have.
Service work is my go-to practice when I am in need. I have the blessing of being in recovery from drug addiction, and I can always reach out to others who are trying to get sober. However, everyone has something different to offer! We can volunteer at a local soup kitchen or animal shelter, pick up trash, or do something far simpler. We can reach out to a friend or loved one and ask how they are doing. When we listen to others and offer a compassionate ear, we are able to greatly help them. Being of service takes us out of our own heads, allows us to connect with others, and helps us see the truth that we always have something to offer.
These simple practices work well on their own and even better together, enabling us to lay a foundation for growth and happiness. They may be simple, but are not always easy. They take work, but we get far more out of them than we put in.
Elizabeth Critton is a writer for The Easier Softer Way. She has been in recovery from drug addiction for several years, and is a student of psychology. She hopes to use her education and experience to help others through the process of recovery from addiction and mental issues. Elizabeth writes for The Easier Softer Way’s Daily Emails.