Renunciation and Recovery

Girl refuse to eat  pie. Isolated.

In a previous blog I talked about the value of renunciation. Renunciation is an act that cultivates freedom and joy.

How does renunciation apply to recovery?

Renunciation is one of the three dimensions of recovery, along with healing and self-realization. These dimensions are interconnected. Most people enter recovery by renouncing to some degree one or more of their addictions. This renunciation is the first step of the ensuing process of healing. With sufficient healing the process of self-realization can begin. These processes all occur to some degree at the same time, influencing each other.

Renouncing addicting requires a leap of faith in the healing power of love, including for ourselves.

People are often afraid to give up their addictions, fearing the loss of a damaging crutch and the risk that recovery will make things worse rather than better. People doubt their own capacities as well as the capacities of others to help them. They are afraid to change and lack faith in recovery.

To renounce something hurtful like addicting, people need a combination of the pain that motivates change, the hope that inspires faith, and help. Pain, hope, and help overcome fear and trigger renunciation.

Not everyone who renounces one addiction renounces all addicting. The crowds of smokers at AA and NA meetings are a testament to this. Only a portion of people attain total recovery by renouncing all addicting.

So we see that renunciation is an ongoing process rather than a one-time event.

What fuels the process of renunciation is the degree to which we have renounced being ruled by unhealthy fears and have instead committed our lives to love.

This is important for recovery because the degree to which we love ourselves and others and not run from the distress of our lives is the degree to which we experience the Joy of Recovery.

For those with addiction, I encourage renouncing all addicting as a supreme act of self-love.

How do you develop your capacity for renunciation? Here are some further thoughts to add to my previous blog.

Maintain your faith that loving is the way to Joy. Make a life commitment to loving.

Have courage to deal with your distress. Ask for help and take good care of yourself. Make an intentional commitment every day to love—to loving yourself and to helping others. Take the no harm vow—to not harm yourself or anyone else. Start each day with an intentional commitment to love.

Then practice mindfulness throughout the day. Watch your mind to see when harmful thoughts or feelings arise, such as urges to addict. Smile at them and let them go. This is the beginning of renunciation, as our actions flow from our thoughts and feelings.

Recovery is at its foundation having faith in the healing power of love. Out of love people renounce their addictions and bad habits. If you are addicting, take a leap of faith in love and make the decision to refuse to addict. Then get whatever help you need to follow through. This will enhance the Joy of your recovery.

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