To elaborate on self-discovery, Marcel Proust once said, “The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Having new eyes – that is exactly what an addict develops throughout the process of recovery. Not only does recovery show you as an addict/alcoholic a new way to live your life, but it also provides you the opportunity to get to know yourself all over again as you redefine the person you are.
Self-Discovery in Recovery
Upon entering recovery, self-reflection becomes almost second nature. By going over your beliefs, resentments, fears, ideals, and defects of character, you may notice the negative roles you played in situations, the person you were, and the ways you are able to work on changing negative unhealthy behaviors that pulled you away from being the person you were meant to be. In order to grow and avert from the negative life you became accustomed to, you have to do some revisiting and evaluating to move forward. The person you are reshaping yourself to be in the future will have been created solely based on the changes you currently make in the present day.
The Johari Window is a diagram that expresses how there are four types of self in each person – open self, hidden self, blind self, and unknown self. Information regarding a person can be depicted within these categories.
Open self represents complete awareness because the information of yourself is known to both you and others.
Blind self is the sector in which you do not know the information of yourself, but others are able know or learn about you.
Hidden self is composed of the secrets you keep because although it is known to you, others are unaware of the information.
The unknown self is a bit trickier because nobody – not you or others – is aware of it.
Examples closest to the unknown self would be one’s subconscious thoughts or unremembered dreams.
Matthew McKay, Ph.D., is the main author of the book, “Messages: The Communication Skills Book,” where he further explains how the Johari Window allows a person to take an introspective look at themselves by elaborating, “When you have an insight about how you operate in the world, you move it from the Blind to the Hidden Self. Sharing this insight with someone moves it into the Open Self.” He goes on to call the process in which the information of one’s self is becoming more known as self-disclosure. Self discovery is the stepping stone of this self-disclosure, which acts as the path toward a more meaningful life with greater quality. Why does self-disclosure create that ultimate result? Self-disclosure allows a person the ability to connect with others and further develop relationships. Having fulfilling relationships is an important factor for happiness because humans relish in empathy, understanding, compassion, and intimacy. It becomes human nature to want to not just to live in this world but actually be a part of it too.
But why is self-disclosure vital during the process of recovery?
When an addict is active in their addiction, they fail to be present. They are not able to experience the moment because they are utilizing energy by clinging to the sick disease of addiction within. The person they truly are is completely hidden, and it is as though something – the disease itself – has taken over their whole being. McKay goes on to say in his book, “Until you unburden yourself, you are a walking corpse,” and this could not be more true as it pertains to the disease of addiction.
Ultimately, self-discovery is a process, and it takes time to heal from addiction. One of the most important things is to remember is that you are human and not perfect, that time takes time, and that growth is a life-long process. There is no finish line, it’s about the journey and not the destination, so don’t get caught up in where you think you should be, rather recognize how far you have come each day.
Looking for more? Click here: Learning To Let Go