There are times when advice becomes so familiar that it is easy to stop hearing it. For example, if you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, you are likely familiar with the 12 Steps (or some variation on that theme) associated with Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. You might even be overly familiar with them—to the point where they no longer seem quite so helpful as they did at first.
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That’s understandable. After all, once something becomes old hat, it loses some of its power to influence and inspire positive behavior. When that happens, it can be helpful to think about an issue—like the recovery journey—from a different perspective.
For example, you might think about your recovery journey from the perspective of legendary pugilist Muhammed Ali.
(Before we go any further, we want to be clear here: We are decidedly not poo-pooing the 12 Steps or any other recovery support system. What we are doing is suggesting that it can be useful to think about a familiar topic in a new way.)
A Legend & His Six Core Principles
Muhammed Ali, in addition to being the heavyweight champion of the world and a cultural icon, was honored with a lifetime achievement award from Amnesty International; declared a “Messenger of Peace” by the Secretary-General of the United Nations; and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Some Memorable Quotes
You may well be familiar with some of Muhammad Ali’s more memorable quotes. The man certainly has a way with words:
I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. (He wasn’t shy about saying so!)
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
I should be a postage stamp, because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked. I’m beautiful. I’m fast. I’m so mean I make medicine sick. I can’t possibly be beat.
Ali’s Six Core Principles
But you may be less familiar with Ali’s Six Core Principles. It turns out that each of Ali’s ideas for life applies to the recovery journey and its challenges:
- Confidence: Belief in oneself, one’s abilities, and one’s future. Struggling with a substance use disorder can shake your confidence—and the challenges of maintaining your sobriety can seem extremely daunting. Believing in yourself and your future is important to your success.
- Conviction: A firm belief that gives one the courage to stand behind the belief despite pressure to do otherwise. The firm belief that must remain in the forefront of your mind is that sobriety is always preferable to the alternative. Your “friends” from your days of drinking or using drugs may try to convince you otherwise, but you can withstand that pressure.
- Dedication: The act of devoting all of one’s energy, effort, and abilities to a certain task. The task of staying sober is a demanding one—which means renewing your dedication is an important daily practice.
- Giving: To present voluntarily without expecting something in return. One of the best ways to give your recovery resolve a boost is to adopt an attitude of service.
- Respect: Esteem for, or a sense of the worth or excellence of, oneself and others. Your self-respect may have taken a serious hit as a result of your battles with drugs or alcohol. Regaining that respect—and remembering that others are worthy of respect, too—is an important step for shoring up your recovery.
- Spirituality: A sense of awe, reverence, and inner peace inspired by a connection to all of creation and/or that which is greater than oneself. You may or may not be part of a faith community, but either way, it is important to make space in your heart and mind for the wider world and all its wonders. Turning your focus outward to interact with the beauty and mystery of being alive can be a powerful—and helpful—experience.
Float Like a Butterfly to Bel Aire Recovery Center
If you have been stung by a substance use disorder, you need to get help sooner rather than later. At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we can help you regain your sobriety, address any co-occurring mental health disorders, and start your recovery journey with confidence. Our personalized treatment plans, medically supervised detox program, and vigorous rehab process (including both individual and group therapy) are grounded in both science and compassion.
When you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, it may very well seem like you are down for the count. But all of us at Bel Aire Recovery Center are eager to help you get back on your feet so you can deliver a knockout punch to your substance use disorder and get on the road to recovery.