No matter how mundane you believe your life to be, you have a story. How we see ourselves, the things we say and act upon all become part of the personal narrative we project into the world. When we become caught up in self-destructive habits such as substance abuse and addiction, our life and, by extension, our narrative becomes hostage to the addiction. From there, it seems, the story is written for us. But the moment we choose to free ourselves, we begin re-writing the plot. You become the Hero of your story.
The Hero’s Journey
The Hollywood formula is essentially as follows:
Here we are; everything is familiar. We might not like where we are, we complain about it, but since our brains perceive change as a threat, we prefer remaining with what we know.
- How this may apply to you: We enjoy the familiar. We might say things like, “one day I’ll do it as soon as the time is right,” because we are not, at that moment, being compelled to change. We feel safe making blanket statements because we know nothing is going to happen.
The Call to Adventure
The Hero gets a call. Adventure awaits. Friends and family could be left behind on the quest for a new beginning, a better life for family, a better life for themselves, get the treasure, get the girl, or get the boy. By now, you probably get the idea.
- How this may apply to you: A person of knowledge or someone we know or respect may initiate a substance abuse intervention meant to compel us to begin the journey toward sobriety, a drug-free lifestyle, and ultimately, wellness. Everyone has gathered around, anticipating our response. After all, we talk about how much we hate our life/self/existence. So, it is time to make a decision.
Hero Rejects the Call
“No, thank you. I’m fine right here.” Remaining in the comfort of familiarity is better than the discomfort of the unknown. Even though they know staying where they are will change nothing for the better and may result in their ultimate downfall, the desire to stand on the familiar ground is stronger.
- How this may apply to you: Our brain is hard-wired to reject change and see it as a threat. The unknown is to be feared. This is how, even when we know the consequences of this life-threatening illness, we fear we cannot meet the demands (Hero’s personal journey/quest) required to change. So we fight to resist it. We might tell our loved ones to mind their own business, to stop sticking their noses in, and when we are ready for change, we will let them know. Generally speaking, there may be plenty of what makes a good story great: conflict!
Meets Person of Influence (POI)
The POI does not have to be wealthy, famous, etc., but what they must be is in a place either literally or through their experience and knowledge, where the Hero wants to be or become. This, of course, becomes the influencing factor of the POI and is the story’s turning point.
- How this may apply to you: This is may be our turning point. Perhaps we speak with someone we admire, maybe a former mentor at school or college. Maybe somebody who has been where we are right now and understands the fears we are facing. This person we trust won’t judge us or compel us to action. Instead, they will act as a guide toward a healthy decision, providing some insight and support, even boosting depleted self-confidence.
Crossing the Threshold
Our Hero is now ready to act, ready to begin their journey, either physical or intellectual, or a combination of both. This is where the Hero steps from the familiar world they are in now to an unfamiliar place filled with new experiences, thoughts, challenges, and people. This action demonstrates the Hero’s commitment to embracing whatever lies ahead of them.
- How this may apply to you: You might decide to attend a rehabilitation program, accepting challenges and new experiences along the way. You may be identifying people or support networks who can help. Either way, crossing the threshold to change is a huge step and worthy of a Hero.
Completely beyond the comfort zone, our Hero is confronted with physical, emotional, and intellectual challenges. They begin to doubt themselves, not sure if they have what it takes to succeed. This is where inner strength is revealed as they seek to solve the challenges in front of them. Facing the enemy, the Hero might realize the enemy lies within themselves.
- How this may apply to you: Detox places challenges on both the mind and body. These challenges can lead us to doubt our ability to cope with the discomfort of the physical and emotional demands. As we move through this initial phase of our rehabilitation, we face the enemy within, our inner demons, the part of us that wants to quit and go home.
Approaching the Cave
This cave represents either the Hero’s inner conflicts or an actual physical location. It may also be a combination of both. To prepare for the battle ahead, they might reflect on why they began their journey, reinforcing their courage before making that leap further into the unknown.
- How this may apply to you: Following the rigors of a detox program, we enter an intensive rehabilitation phase to include individual or group counseling. This may be a scary time as we learn to deal with emotions that begin surfacing as we recall past hurts or emotional injuries underlying our substance misuse. Ahead of counseling, we may take some quiet moments to remind ourselves why continuing forward is critical and reflect on how far we have come along on our journey.
The supreme ordeal means our Hero must face their greatest fears. This may be a physical test or a deep, inner crisis they are forced to deal with. It may be anticipated, or it may have been understood in advance. Regardless, this is make or break time. During this time, they must experience some sort of inner transformation that, once complete, will grant them mastery or a greater insight within themselves.
- How this may apply to you: We may have recalled traumatic events which, until now, have remained buried. There may be times when we fight the fear of changing or the fear of life without self-medicated substances for many years. There will also be times we have to face the temptation of relapse, and it may require all our strength, to include the encouragement of those we have met along our own Hero’s Journey to provide support.
The Hero has defeated the enemy and stands ready to collect their prize. Ultimately, they are transformed for the better through ordeals of fire, famine, monsters, and just about everything else in between. They can return home should they choose to. The key, however, is they now view themselves with a strength that was absent before. The power, of course, was there all along; it just needed discovering.
Hence, the journey.
- How this may apply to you: Addiction recovery is a life-long journey, think sequels in a movie. However, moving through the intense phases of rehabilitation is a huge achievement. We battled our inner demons through this process, fought the dragons of doubt, and entered the darkest depths of our cave, so once and for all, we might stand and face memories we preferred to forget.
We become the Hero. How we write the sequel is up to us. Up ahead lies another journey.
Grab your shoes.
We have a story. How we see ourselves, how we speak and act become part of the narrative we project into the world. Caught up in self-destructive habits like substance abuse and addiction, our life and, by extension, our narrative becomes hostage to the addiction. From there, it seems, the story is written for us. But the moment we choose to free ourselves, we begin re-writing the plot. You can become the Hero of your story. A leader in the field of transitional recovery services, Hired Power’s discretion and confidentiality assures anonymity through all stages of returning to wellness. Whether moving to your detox program safely and with discretion, to recovery and sober living partners that can help you through the holidays, Hired Power is there for you or your loved one, standing as that bridge between you and traditional recovery plans. You don’t have to struggle alone; our personal recovery assistants are here to help you walk through this process, believing in you, empowering you to change. Helping you become the Hero. Step by step. Call Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299. We look forward to hearing from you.