Terminal uniqueness is the belief that you are special or different from everybody else in recovery. Believing that your experiences are unique might give you the impression that you are not subject to the laws and rules that affect others’ recovery. You might feel like your circumstances, such as managing sobriety, are much more difficult for you than others. Understand that you are undermining your recovery when you subscribe to this belief. Your addiction will persist until you are proactive about participating in activities that promote your sobriety. If you suspect that terminal uniqueness is holding you back, here are some ways to help you overcome these feelings and find common ground with others in your recovery circle.
Similarities Over Differences
When you focus on terminal uniqueness and finding how you are different from peers at support groups and meetings, not only will you be able to find them, but you will overlook a lot of the similarities. For example, deciding just because someone is younger than you they don’t have as much experience, or if someone is older than you, they are not as good at managing their addiction, only further perpetuates a dismissive and negative outlook. It also means that you are not listening carefully enough. When you take time to listen, you stand to discover that you have a lot in common with other people managing their addiction. Your physical circumstances may be different, but addiction affects everybody emotionally in very similar ways. You will begin to find common ground with your group peers; you must remember to listen and be honest with yourself. The advantages of listening for similarities helps you learn from others mistakes and experiences and is much more beneficial for your recovery.
Always be honest about where you’re at in your recovery. Look at what you have been doing that worked and what you have been doing that hasn’t worked. It is OK to seek help and guidance from others. It is also OK to admit that you don’t know what to do. While it might be hard to give up trying to control everything, sometimes accepting you cannot control everything is the only way to move forward. Humility helps you admit that you don’t have an answer and enables you to try something you have not yet tried. Understanding that you cannot control every situation and that you might need help is a freeing experience that helps open you up to more support and suggestions from others.
Fake it Until You Make it
If you are still not yet making a connection to finding common ground, the best you can do is continue to try. That is, you can follow along and fake it until you can begin to identify with the experiences and challenges of others. Instead of isolating yourself and creating more potential dangers, continuing to stay in touch with friends, family and peers and attend meetings is much healthier for your recovery. Remember, it takes time to open up and become comfortable with others; however, this is not causing you to resent yourself or others. It is time to exercise patience and remember that you are in the right place. Adopting this philosophy also breeds optimism, but it is also not an excuse to not work in the group or program. Keep motivating yourself with the thought that things will start clicking, and in turn, things should begin to start connecting. Keep visualizing yourself overcoming problems rather than succumbing to your addiction.
When You Finally Relate in Recovery
When things finally click, it will be an incredible feeling. All the loneliness and feelings of being misunderstood will begin to diminish. You will soon be expressing your feelings in ways you never thought possible, which will cause feelings of confidence and empowerment. When you can open up in front of others in the group, your work and recovery start to become validated and real. You will also realize that those who share similar experiences around you have useful and meaningful lessons to share that can help benefit and shape your recovery.
The bonds you make in recovery can become life-lasting and even strengthen your support system. Finding others who share your experiences and hardships helps motivate you and keep you accountable. Attending meetings significantly reduces your risk of relapse early on in recovery. So put yourself out there, don’t get caught up with terminal uniqueness, and attend a meeting and work on making connections.
If you are unwilling to explore the benefits of support meetings because you think your circumstances are different, you might be suffering from terminal uniqueness. Understand that taking these views can limit the relationships you stand to make in recovery and hinder your recovery efforts. If you choose to isolate yourself instead of participating, it may be time to seek help. At New Hope Ranch, residential rehab treatment in Manor, Texas, we strive to not only surround you with healthcare professionals that will help you challenge your thoughts, but we also strive to help you build a healthy support system. Our success comes when you find the motivation to overcome your addiction and live the life you deserve on your terms. Understand that you will need help from others to achieve your success. To learn more, reach out to us at New Hope Ranch at (737) 600-8565.