Occupying your time in rehab can be as challenging as bagging fleas. It’s an important concept to get used to, though, because in recovery I find a great deal of time on my hands. Sometimes it feels like a blessing and curse. While time heals many wounds, thoughts and emotions can start playing head games. The practice and discipline of sitting with self is encapsulated in meditation, which is a wonderful tool to utilize when my thoughts are racing.
Meditation was completely new to me at first, and now it’s one of my favorite tools in my recovery utility belt. Understanding the importance of trying new things in recovery goes back to the fundamentals of how the brain works. New neurons are formed, which by themselves can’t offer much resistance to a fully developed bad habit. But as new neurons are tied together by new memories, especially happy ones, gradually a network of newly formed neurons overpowers the notion of retreating into old habits and disparaging ways of managing stress.
Trying and learning new things has always been part of the bulwark at Riverbank. The raw materials are always at my disposal: cooking, meditation, yoga, hiking, painting, even rebuilding this old boat engine. So, if you were ever wondering, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Especially when my life depends on it. That’s how this lion-tamer sees it, anyway.