Over the years, I have realized that consistency in my behaviour towards any person or thing, keeps me grounded, trusted, predictable and helps me achieve whatever I may be trying to accomplish. Being consistent defines me, the way I am, my character.
I have also realized that people who do not follow through consistently with what they say, are not able to achieve their goals. Their character is generally described as, unpredictable, untrustworthy, among many other negative adjectives.
Inconsistent behaviour in people makes it difficult for them to achieve success in different areas of their lives; all I am trying to say is that, inconsistent people do not succeed, they do not win, their efforts mostly end up in failure.
Let us look at four more reasons why it is important to be consistent in living the Recovery life (abstinence from all sorts of Psychoactive drugs, practicing coping skills, attending recovery meetings).
1. Allow the Brain to Heal
Psychoactive drugs cause a lot of damage to the brain. There is a protective shielding around the brain called the ‘Blood Brain Barrier’. This barrier is supposed to prevent toxic chemicals from getting through. Only substances composed of fat soluble molecules can get through; that is exactly what psychoactive drugs are made of.
They get through the barrier and cause dysfunction in critical areas of the brain like the cerebral cortex which is responsible for higher level processes like reasoning, memory, language and emotion. This explains why decisions made in active drug use are not very reasonable.
Consistency in living the Recovery life allows time for the brain to heal itself and get all those parts which have been damaged back to optimal functioning.
I always tell my clients that, ‘going on and off drugs and thinking that somehow your brain will heal itself is like scratching a wound over and over again and expecting it to heal. Wounds do not heal that way, just keep applying the prescribed medication and wait’.
2. Build Confidence
In the early days of recovery, dealing with triggers and cravings will seem like a battle, but as the months go by, working with your coping skills and staying out of situations where you may be compelled to use drugs, will only get easier and easier.
This realization will help build confidence in your ability to do what it takes to remain in recovery.
3. Build Trust
One of the problems that Substance Use Disorder causes is conflict and difficulties in relationships; at home, work and in the community. These problems arise from the mostly undesirable and unreasonable behaviour that is exhibited during active drug use, which leads to broken trust in these relationships.
A life in recovery gives you the opportunity to show the people around you that you are a new person. Let your new desirable and reasonable behaviour do the talking, not your words.
The only way to build trust again is to show consistency in this ‘new you’ that you want to show them. Going back and forth between your old and new behaviour will just make their mistrust of you run deeper.
4. It is the Key to Sustained Recovery
The only way to enjoy all the benefits of life in recovery is to continue working out your recovery a day at a time. Do not think that, you have stopped using drugs for a while now so from time to time, you can take a little break to enjoy yourself with ‘some little alcohol or drugs’ and expect that everything will be alright.
As long as you keep putting drugs into your body, they will continue to affect your brain negatively, which will in turn cause problems in your health, finances, relationships and with the law. Remember that psychoactive drugs like Cannabis, Heroin, Cocaine and others are still illegal in Ghana.
Stay consistently abstinent, practice your coping skills, stay safe, protect your brain. You need a healthy brain to live a healthy and sane life.