Tag Archives: future

The Power of Imagination

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“At times, our dreams may seem out of reach. The reality is that we are far from them— but only presently. Imaging is simply using your imagination to lift your mood and enhance your motivation for long-term sobriety. This is part of an article from Addiction-Recovery-Blog.com. You will find that imaging can do even more than I mentioned above, plus advise on how to start your own practice.” -Enjoy, Robyn

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Imaging, in the purest sense, is a way of focusing your mind on positive alternatives. Whether you practice self-imaging through yoga or meditation or participate in a program of therapeutic imaging, the technique can be very effective.

Basically, imaging is a type of perception therapy that embraces the connection between your mind, body, spirit, and environment. It’s a psychotherapeutic approach that helps you replace faulty perceptions about who you are and who you want to be with new and more beneficial perceptions.

Issues Imaging Can Address

Depression and addiction are common co-occurring conditions. In fact, even without addiction, depression is a very common condition. It is estimated that more than 10 million Americans suffer from some form of depression. After treatment for drug and/or alcohol abuse, depression can wreak havoc on the recovering addict’s life and any future plans. The heart of depression is hopelessness, a feeling or perception that nothing good will ever happen. Imaging helps transform hopelessness into hope. And hope brings the promise of a brighter future.

Low self-esteem and low self-worth often plague recovering addicts in varying degrees. Sometimes the feelings are tucked away into the back of the mind, while at other times they completely take over the individual’s thoughts, sabotaging any attempts to plan a better life. The old ways of trying to bump up self-esteem by hanging out with others and doing things so other people will like us – even though those were undesirable friends and activities – no longer work, or we’ve been responsible enough to reject them, wisely realizing as a result of treatment that we can’t associate with those triggers. Imaging helps improve feelings of self-worth and self-esteem by treating the whole person. As the underlying faulty thinking is exposed, new perceptions are created that lead to more positive behaviors.

Intolerance and prejudice are seldom talked about as issues affecting recovering addicts, but think about the kinds of beliefs we’ve been brought up with or acquired over the years. Every time we rejected someone who didn’t share our need to binge or use, or laughed at the spiritual person who seemed so happy with their life, or lashed out at loved ones and friends who tried to encourage us to change – those were all forms of intolerance and prejudice. If not dealt with, they’ll resurface in other forms during recovery and put a serious strain on our future plans. Imaging can help people to be more accepting of others, to embrace the fact that we’re all equal, that we need each other, that we’re connected, and that we can help each other grow. This leads to better self-awareness, inner peace, and the ability to plan for the future.


After chronic abuse of alcohol or drugs, those in recovery often still bear some of the effects: poor physical condition, not eating properly, disturbed sleep patterns, or other self-destructive acts. Some replace one addiction with another. They may start smoking cigarettes when they never smoked before, eat compulsively, or engage in other addictive behaviors. Imaging helps you avoid this by devoting attention to improving fitness, practicing meditation, focusing on better breathing techniques, and learning better eating habits. With a healthier body, the mind and body connection is stronger, and planning for the future becomes a more viable possibility.

Many recovering addicts are beaten in spirit, even though they’ve completed treatment and are abstaining from drugs and alcohol. They don’t feel worthy of a good future. Their spirit is weighed down with the accumulation of guilt, shame, remorse, and the injustices they have done to others, real or imagined. Imaging realigns the spirit, helping the recovering addict gain an increased awareness that we all deserve to be happy, to be productive members of society, to go after our goals, and to be at peace. In short, imaging helps you to reaffirm your goodness of spirit, which fosters the ability to make plans for your brighter future.

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How to Start Imaging

You can begin by meditating for a few minutes every day, morning and evening. While
many people may think meditation is some mystical process and shrug it off as nonsense, the truth is that it’s really as simple as closing your eyes and blocking out all thoughts, breathing in and out deeply, and concentrating every ounce of your being on the sound and rhythm of your breath. Do this for a period of five minutes. It’s also helpful to engage in this practice when you become overstressed or feel you can’t deal with a potential trigger or craving to drink or use.

There are books you can borrow at the library or buy at a bookstore on meditation. You can also listen to CDs or DVDs that help calm your spirit and your random thoughts. Or you can participate in therapeutic imaging, a psychotherapeutic approach that is offered in some parts of the country. Ask your aftercare counselor or therapist for recommendations for such treatment or investigate holistic therapy or alternative therapy groups in your area.

Imaging Techniques

Imaging techniques vary but should consist of the following:

• Be open to new concepts
• Recognize that people are different and be accepting of everyone
• Be willing to change your perceptions about your future
• Explore ways to help change your perceptions
• Learn to investigate facts, rather than blindly accept things as true
• Admit that you can have a better future and that you deserve it
• Repeat positive imaging practices, such as daily reminders of self-worth, meditation, and other relaxation techniques
• Create new ways of handling your daily situations, especially stressful ones
• Recognize that what works for another may not work for you – you are an individual with unique needs
• Be open to lifting and awakening your spirit, your inner being, your true self

Whether you participate in a group, structured counseling, or do it by yourself, imaging in any of the above forms can help you to create a future that you desire. The best thing about the future is that it is always available before us. We can be the architect of tomorrow – by laying the groundwork today through imaging.

Take Three

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At the end of every week begins the torture that builds up in her head. It keeps her feeling as though she wants to crawl out of her skin. She can’t bare it. It is; unbearable.

After the past few days of throwing up after taking her medication because she was starving herself, she decided it was time to eat again. Maybe this time she won’t feel so agitated by the end of the week again. It’s something about all this focus on her addiction that gets her nerves high. Going to meetings before wasting time doing IOP homework, then working out and spending another three hours focusing on her addiction in IOP into the wee hours of the night at nine when she feels like she already should have been asleep. She spends about ten hours sleeping and according to her new sleeping cycle app on her phone, she sucks at it. Every night she wakes up at least three times, totally disrupting the nature of a good nights rest. But she doesn’t care, not today anyways. She skipped IOP yesterday due to taking her meds too early, causing her to feel extra agitated. She tried sleeping for an hour, got up and went to workout and got some groceries for her mom. By the time she came home she was able to sleep well, waking up bright and early just past five. This morning she felt really good for some reason. Thoughts of past adventures in India came into her head but only this time they didn’t leave her feeling hopeless and sad.

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She could clearly remember the first meal she had out in the town of Kannur which is located in the southern state of Kerala. She had been seated with another volunteer, Petra, and the coordinator of the program, Katja. Both of them were from Germany but for some reason there accents were incredibly comforting to her in this foreign land. She had ordered a tomato utapum; and maybe it was the fact that she hadn’t had pizza in years or the fact that the thing really did taste like pizza, but she was so incredibly pleased with what she had ordered. From that moment on she dropped all her notions of a Jain diet that she had adapted to while living in the states which included–or rather excluded just about every food out there– no meat, no animal bi-product and no root vegetables (because god forbid you harm an insect and kill the entire vegetable on its way out of the ground). She remembers convincing several of the students she had met later on her trip to go to this same restaurant to order tomato utapums. Only when they got there they weren’t serving them. Apparently its a morning thing… She laughed to herself. Those girls, Tamara from Israel and Reidin from Ireland, were her favorite people she had met at the Ayurvedic and Panchakarma school (ancient Indian medicine and massage). She was big into astrology at the time and they fit their signs perfectly; Scorpio and Taurus. She always found scorpios to adore her for some reason, then again, they kind of adore everyone… And she had left behind a Taurus back at home, Alyssa, who always offered her the best advise and motherly love; Reidin did the same. She remembered bringing them to a disco-like ice cream parlor after they had lunch and she ran into her temporary lover and his friends. She tried not to think of them. She held on to the moments laughing and gossiping with the other travelers, got up out of bed and headed to the freezer. She pulled out some frozen Indian food and popped it in the microwave. As she waited she flew in and out of the kitchen, pointing her toes as she walked like a ballerina. When the timer went off she bounced over and grabbed a fork. After she finished her breakfast she noticed her legs were tapping uncontrollably and the sun was still not out. So she grabbed her coat and bundled up. She figured the food was a little over 400 calories so if she walked about an hour she could burn it all off. So that’s what she did. Cramping up on her side and briskly walking to the park, up the creek and back into town. She was pleased with the sun rising at just the perfect time. She remembered how dark it was when she first stepped outside her door. She could actually see the Gemini constellation so clearly that it brought her back to India, which at the time of her stay, clearly displayed it too. It’s like I’m chasing my sign, she thought.

When she had fallen in psychosis for two months (one month in India and another back home in the States), she had taken her astrological sign too seriously. By this time she had just been diagnosed bipolar. At first she thought bipolar had something to do with the fact that she had been in a polar opposite country that had almost directly reverse coordinates. Then after she nixed that idea and realized it had to do with her personality, she told everyone it was simply because she had been a Gemini. She even had ideas of proving this to the psychiatrist. Of course, her psychiatrist thought this was a foolish, jotting it down on her notepad as another disillusion. She had a list of disillusions being compiled by her parents, friends from India and medical authorities. She was being called crazy and she hated this idea.

She sits here now in the coffee shop again, sucking on another coffee, reminiscing on those feeling of rage. She no longer feels that way about her condition. What everyone had been saying makes perfect sense now. She had been crazy. She accepts that. In fact, the thought almost excites her. What an unique story! What an interesting past! But I should be asking for mania anymore. I know it only leads to psychosis and that state is just down right embarrassing… She wonders what else she will do today. Maybe she will post this on her blog? She has a couple blogs going; one for her poetry which she never tags and is really just for her, and another that is surrounded on holistically healing addiction and co-occurring disorders/diseases which she promotes and regularly posts on. Surely drinking coffee and writing all day is a good option but really what she wants to do is visit all her friends before she leaves. In about a week she will be taking off to live in Florida with her mother. She is a little weary about the circumstances, seeing as her mom is not a recovering alcoholic, but she has faith that it will be a good fresh start for her. I guess I’m gonna miss these people places and things, she thinks. But she needs to change them, they only lead to no good. Though of course, as everyone says, a change in scene is not a change in character defects. And as a raging drug addict, she knows she wouldn’t have a hard time sniffing out drugs anywhere she if she so chooses. After all she managed to fall on them in an entirely different country. But that was a total coincidence! Regardless, it happened.

Okay, I have to admit it was maybe not the biggest coincidence. My ears did perk up at the mention of weed and certainly cocaine. Ranjit warned me too. He certainly warned me. But I couldn’t resist, I knew the feeling and I wanted it again. I did what I could to play dumb and innocent and my schemes had worked to get me what I wanted. She regretted her actions and her lies. But this was the way of the typical addict. A past she would have to live with and a future she will strive to correct.

She felt foolish for the way she had acted a few days ago. Staying up through the night and feeding off of artificial energy just to get a kick. It didn’t bring her out of depression. It actually flung her right back in. She figured a productive day consisted of eating properly, busying her mind, working out and going to bed relatively early. She was proud of the day so far. She felt comfortable at the quite coffee shop. Having finished her coffee she felt she would do a good job in the gym like the last time she was soaring high off life. Only she didn’t want to ruin her make-up… Today was unlike the other days because she had actually taken the effort to get dressed. The sun was out and shining, reflecting off of every possible surface outside causing her eyes to give off a pretty shade of blue. She looked at herself in the reflection of her screen. How strange it is to be trapped in this body? I wonder if other people hate this too? I’d like to be someone else for a change. Tough luck. Only death will come to prove another existence, if that even exists. Of course, by all rationality it does. People die all the time. But all of us in our singular realities may live forever. It’s completely possible. Of course it is. But here she goes again thinking such thoughts that are too deep for a lonely Friday afternoon. She might be better off finishing this and moving on to some other useless project…