Hope in the Darkness: Why Optimism is Important in Recovery

There are going to be ups and downs in recovery – and if you’re in the middle of a dark period right now, you’re likely feeling a bit lost. Anxiety, hopelessness and depression can make it seem like you’re never going to get to where you want to be – so why try? First and foremost, you must remember that your perception plays a major role in how you go about recovery. Bad days are going to occur – but you shouldn’t make any drastic decisions when you’re feeling at your lowest.

Optimism is about finding hope in the darkness, and, while it might sound cliché, it truly works if you set your mind to it. Even the realm of addiction recovery as a whole has come a long way. The Surgeon General reminds us of several improvements that have been made for those in recovery, such as:

  • Greater research that has led to more effective treatment programs
  • Support services like 12-Step programs (ex. Alcoholics Anonymous) give those in recovery better chances than before at building a life of sobriety
  • More preventative measures are being taken in communities to help people regain their strength in recovery
  • And more

Within treatment, we have to hold realistic expectations – that not every day is going to be perfect. During these down periods, we have to practice self-care and maintain positivity in the fact that we’re here, and we’re healing. We’re taking the necessary steps that are needed and, while we may have some setbacks, we are surrounded by people who are rooting for our success in recovery. Helen Keller captured the essence of optimism by once stating,

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Utilize the tools that you’ve developed in recovery so far, and don’t give up. Acknowledge that today you may be struggling, but you still have the power to overcome that through your perceptions. Reach out to those who support you – and remember that with enough hope, anything is possible.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.