Last fall, I talked about three areas of recovery.  The first is a need to be committed to the process of recovery and to doing the hard work required.  And, it is tough work.  It is “my” work and no one can do it for me.  Therefore, I am accountable for my choices and consequences of my choices.  The second area was balance and the six areas of balance were identified:  physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial.  The third area is living in today or “the present moment”.

My last blog post I talked about the book, My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.  She talks about the amazing healing power of the human body and brain.  There are amazing gifts to each of us.  Believe it or not there is a need for balance of the right and left hemispheres of the brain.  Prior to her stroke, Ms. Taylor states that she lived much of the time in the left brain of analytical thinking.  Since the stroke was in the left brain, her right brain now became dominant.  She describes this as “gaining access to the experience of deep inner peace in the consciousness of my right mind when the language and orientation association areas in the left hemisphere became nonfunctional.”  She further states that her goal during her process of recovery has been to find a healthy balance between the right and left hemispheres, and also to be aware and in charge of which (right or left) dominated her perspective at any given moment. 

In recovery work, there is a saying of needing “to talk the talk and walk the walk”.  We also refer to how our head (left hemisphere) as the thinking part and it is telling us to do one thing while our heart, feelings or intuition (right hemisphere) is telling us the opposite.  There are numerous ways to describe the two hemispheres and she believes they are very separate and distinct.  Therefore, it is important to honor both thoughts and feelings and to find alignment here.  She used the phrase “step to the right” when she found she was over thinking and needed to relax and allow the feeling/intuitive right brain to come forth.  Just spend some time checking in with yourself?  Which hemisphere of the brain is more dominant?  Can you choose to “shift to the right”?  Often addicts, substance abusers (alcohol/drugs) use their addiction to avoid the right hemisphere feeling brain?  How comfortable are you with your feelings?  How comfortable are you with working with feelings and thoughts and finding that balance? 

Sue Judd, MSS, LSAC 

Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor

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