Authenticity is the quality of being authentic. To be authentic is to be undisputed, original, and genuine. Most men who have lived through active addiction to drugs and alcohol have lost their authentic selves. Many take on roles and characters who they believe they are supposed to play in society, their family, their friends, their jobs, and with their substance of choice. As drugs and alcohol change the wiring of their brain, alter their physical chemistry, and start to skew their spiritual perspective, men lose themselves. Who they are and who they are being to themselves becomes disputable. The original core of who men were- their beliefs, their likes, their dislikes, their ideals, their fantasies, their hopes, their dreams- are lost, temporarily. Lacking in genuity, being who they truly are, they continue to lose their authentic selves to something addiction creates. Imagine a mold, to be filled with some kind of liquid. The more that the mold of a man is changed by addiction, the more the core of his being recedes. Increasingly, the mold becomes empty, as does the man. All that is left is a shell.
Recovery replenishes and restores the authentic spirit of a man. Through intensive therapy, physical training, and spiritual endeavors, a man rediscovers who he was before he started using. Concurrently, he makes a discovery to the man he is now and the man he is becoming, every day that he abstains from drugs and alcohol. At once he excavates the man of the past and sculpts the man of the future.
His progress will not be perfect. Along his journey, he will face uncertainty and every now and then the shadow cast by addiction will overcome the light of his recovery. Old behaviors die hard, it is often said. Learning a new way to think, feel, and be takes time. Slipping into old patterns of thinking and acting, a man in recovery can watch his authenticity slip before his eyes. Most often it will only become evident to him that he has once more temporarily lost his way when certain signs appear.
For example, he may start to develop that familiar air of self-loathing, self-criticism, and self-hatred. Shying away from social interactions, he turns to isolation because he is no longer comfortable in his skin, or around others. Rather than confront and quickly resolve his resentments, he simmers and stews in them until they boil over. Nothing he says or does seems to feel right. Though he knows he should not drink or do drugs, he may find himself thinking about how substances used to provide an escape from moments and thoughts like these.
Returning to authenticity happens in the very instant we can recognize signs like these or others which tell us that internally, we’ve taken a vacation from ourselves. Treatment programs like the residential program at Tree House Recovery teach men how to create a sustainable recovery, finding freedom from addiction through the adventurous journey of learning how to live.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474