Preparing for Change

Finding Your “Yes” and Passion in Life

Recovery is not just about saying “no” to something. It’s also about finding and experiencing a healthier, more fulfilling life. It’s hard to say “no” to something unless we have something else to say “yes” to. Research on habits indicates that finding a new, healthy habit is crucial for breaking old, unhealthy habits. One of the unexpected gifts of recovery can be the discovery, or rediscovery of passions and things that make our hearts come alive. Sometimes the stripping away of  commitments, relationships, and contexts that no longer serve us can offer the opportunity to re-find purpose and passion, be it through creativity, career, relationships, or service.


“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Seeing and Seizing the Opportunity

Seeking positive change in life through recovery is not just consciously moving away from something negative, but consciously moving toward something positive. Recovery is a chance to discover what makes us come alive, and to find our passion and purpose. This hidden opportunity requires engagement in our own processes but can lead to greater meaning and significance than we’ve ever experienced.  The inner work of recovery can help us unlock increased confidence and self-worth that supports the freedom we’ve lacked in the past to pursue our dreams, whether it be simple, like healthy relationships, or the pursuit of long-term goal.

Finding Your Passion, Your “Yes” in Life

While it’s important to learn how to say “no” to areas of harmful thoughts and behaviors, discovering what we want to say “yes” to is an even more powerful method of change. Scientific research indicates that introducing new behaviors is crucial for effectively addressing and changing habits. For us, this may be a behavior, but it could be as simple as seeking to change an old way of thinking. Some believe this is one reason why treatment programs for doctors and airline pilots have very high success rates for reducing return to addictive behaviors. [INSERT LINK]. Participants have something already to pursue. They’re going through recovery to regain their career, means of income, and part of their idenity. Every person has something that they can say “yes” to in recovery; they may just not realize it yet. Sometimes it takes time to discover. Seeking our “yes” or passion in life may unlock recovery in unexpected ways.

What is the “yes” that you’re pursuing? Is it greater connection to family members or romantic partners? Is it the ability to be a better parent or spouse? Is it a spiritual pursuit of meaning, fulfillment, and love? Is it a long-held dream you’ve held — to write a book, make music, own your own business, get an education, or see the world? Much of what you can learn through the recovery process can be applied to pursuing these types of goals. And the pursuit of something can be the wind in the sails of change, helping provide motivation to stay with the process, even when it’s not easy. Finding a “yes” that is meaningful to you is possible in a range of settings and conditions.

Connection as a “Yes”

Remember the importance of connection, which science is increasingly finding as key for happiness and fulfillment. Meaningful connection can be a powerful “yes,” whether it’s as a father or mother, reconciliation with family members, or discovery of new community through recovery. Look for a “yes” to pursue that brings you life and joy regardless of the size of the impact or the overall outcome. Find and do things that make your heart feel alive. Express yourself creatively, enjoying fitness or the outdoors, or try something new. What matters is that it matters to you. If you find yourself in the place of recovery, there’s an opportunity to find deeper purpose, connection, and hope through your “yes” in life. Your new habits may be as simple as taking a walk, meditation or prayer, or taking time for regular connection with trusted supporters. Or, they may be trying something new that you never have before — creating art, making music, pursuing an education. When taking this approach to recovery, community is important. Look for individuals that are taking a similar approach and finding their “yes” in life.



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