Best qualities needed for recovery

Best qualities needed for recovery

Much of recovery is about taking that journey inside yourself, back in time to look at aspects of your life that have shaped you to be how you are now.

It is called recovery because it is about recovering what may have seemed to have disappeared – your true self. It takes the beating of fear – the utmost courage – to do this.

As Buddha put it: “Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand man, is he who would conquer just one – himself.”

Indeed, psychiatrist M Scott Peck (1936–2005), author of one of the world’s bestselling recovery books The Road Less Traveled said: “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear, the moving out against the resistance engendered by fear into the unknown and into the future.”

There are other qualities as well as the courage that enable someone to find and keep recovery. But because people feel beaten and frequently frightened too at the point that they know they need to seek help, many cannot believe they have these essential character traits.

But they are innate in everybody. A good therapist will guide you to find them and help them – and you – to rise up once more.

What is vital for recovery?

What is vital to recovery


Step One of the Twelve Steps recovery program starts with the two words: “We admitted…”  It takes courage to admit there is something wrong, that you need help, that your way of living is not working…

But if nothing changes, nothing changes. So courage needs to be mustered.

Determination & commitment

“To wish to be well is a part of becoming well,” said Seneca, who was a key person in the Stoic philosophy movement that was founded in Athens in the 3rd Century BC. Perhaps even it is the first part in becoming well.

This applies to everything in life that is a goal: you need to make a decision that you really want it. Then you have to keep going even after a setback.

People who get the strongest and most swift recovery are those who want it at all costs. They will put recovery right at the top of their priority list, knowing that if they do that all their other issues and problems will one by one be resolved.


Honesty is essential for recovery. From admitting to yourself and then another person that there is a problem, and then throughout treatment and recovery. This means also admitting and talking about the depth of the problem and where it might have taken you – which might be all the way down.

Everything must be put on the table, not all at once, but certainly over time. A good therapist will know exactly how to enable this in just the right way and at the right time.

Think of it as if you are going to see a doctor with a physical problem, say it’s a broken wrist. At the same time as you broke your wrist, you bruised your big toe. But if you only tell the doctor about your bruised big toe, he cannot advise the best way to mend your broken wrist… So you will still have a broken wrist and the pain that goes with it.

In the book titled Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the main guidebooks for people recovering from addiction to alcohol through the Twelve Steps recovery method, it says  of alcoholics in the chapter called How It Works: “There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity, to be honest.” 

Honesty is key.

Humility & open-mindedness

Many people come to recovery after the humiliation of how their life IS allows them to have enough humility to ask for help. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less,” is how author CS Lewis put it.

It is the acceptance that the way you have been trying to fix yourself has not worked. In some cases, it is your very best thinking over many years and yet still there is the mess, the despair, the addiction…

Humility means that you are prepared to listen to someone who can help you. It means being open-minded to trying some suggestions that you might think have no chance of working for you. Humility and open-mindedness are two essential recovery qualities to have right from the beginning.


For many people, “discipline” is a word they do not like. It can conjure up images and bad memories of a strict parent, a strict school or church…

But the word “discipline” itself comes from the Latin word “disciplina” meaning “knowledge and instruction”. It is linked to another Latin word meaning “to learn”.

So as with almost everything in life, if you are disciplined, you will learn and develop in whatever you are disciplining yourself. You will get more knowledge about or better at something.

Everybody understands this when it comes to physical aspects of ourselves. For instance, if you stick to a diet you will lose weight, or if you go to the gym five days a week for a few months you will get a better physique.

It is exactly the same with emotional, mental and spiritual matters. If you stay disciplined, for example, by starting every day with meditation rather than rushing headlong into everything, you will start to know a more peaceful life on a daily basis.

If addiction is an issue, you have to be disciplined, for instance, to stay away from certain people and places. Then, when recovery has got going, you need to keep doing what has helped it get going – and then your recovery will get progressively better.

Your emotional health and wellbeing will keep improving, You will have the life you really want. 

“Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems,” wrote M. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled. “Without discipline, we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline, we can solve all problems.”

Our team of professional experts has helped people with all types of emotional and mental health problems. Contact us today for a free discussion in confidence with one of our friendly team members at Centers For Health & Healing.

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