In drug and alcohol recovery, being open-minded is an essential way of framing your thought process that can make a huge difference in your ability to succeed. Open-mindedness means being willing to be accepting of new ideas and different ways of seeing the world and other people’s ways of thinking. It come from an awareness that you don’t have all the answers, so you must be open to learning from others.
How many times has it been said in the rooms of an Alcoholics Anonymous session, “my best thinking got me here”? When someone makes that statement what they actually mean is they believed that they had all the answers and thought they didn’t need anyone else’s help and unfortunately it lead them directly to falling into the depths of active addiction. Practicing open-mindedness is an essential part of the path to the “golden state” of recovery.
Being open-minded is an act of surrender and surrendering control is the first step towards recovery. Opening up your mind means you are free from having to control your every thought. New ideas, experiences, and perspectives are brought in while old ideas are challenged.
The disease of addiction is centered in the mind. Addiction distorts your thinking and so you need to practice thinking in new ways. Addiction is supported strongly by the delusional mind that is full of denial, or not realizing you have a problem or thinking you can control it, and obsession. As hard as it is to comprehend, it’s not the best idea to trust your mind if you are a drug addict. Open-mindedness is one of the ways we as addicts can combat our troubled minds.
Open-mindedness goes beyond simply listening to other people, but it also means having the willingness to check your own thoughts and challenge yourself to think differently. This is an important step to make, because it is only by making recovery your own that it will truly stick.
By being open-minded, you open yourself up to a someone else’s experiences, and allow their story to teach you. Going off your own ideas will not be as effective as learning from other people who might have had to learn things the hard way. However, what works for one person may not resonate with you as much. That is why there is such a variety of ideas about recovery out there. No one’s path to wholeness and recovery is exactly the same, and so you need to be open to things from a variety of sources, open to seeing whatever will work for you.