When you hear the word “hero,” you may think of a superhero or the hero of your favorite movie or book series. Joseph Campbell noted similarities between the storylines of both ancient and modern mythological heroes and mapped out their common destinies in something he called The Hero’s Journey. This journey is what tests them, refines them, and turns them into heroes before our very eyes.
Your journey with substance use disorder (SUD) and your heroic path into recovery is also a hero’s journey. Your struggle with substances has tested you, and enduring your path to recovery can refine you and help you to realize that you are, in fact, a hero. Using Campbell’s 12 stages of The Hero’s Journey, here are 12 stepping stones you can take to create your own Hero’s Journey into recovery:
#1. Ordinary World
Your Ordinary World is where you have dwelt, your comfort zone, up until now. Your battle with substances is what calls you to the Special World to be tested and refined before returning to the Ordinary World with wisdom and a hero’s status.
#2. Call to Adventure
Your call to adventure is your breaking point, what some people call their “rock bottom.” It may be the loss of a relationship, job, or a legal issue. Or maybe you are tired of the struggle and no longer recognize who you are. All you know is that something needs to change. Are you ready to answer the call?
#3. Refusal of the Call
Every hero struggles to meet the call, to rise to the challenge. Acknowledging that you need help for addiction and being willing to do what it takes to change is hard. To resist is human. To hear the call is heroic. Will you find the hero within?
#4. Meeting the Mentor
Your mentor may be a friend, family member, or even a complete stranger who brings you to the realization that you do need help, help is available, and that you can find help. The hero in you will listen and act.
#5. Crossing the Threshold
When you submit your contact information or make that call to a treatment facility, you are crossing the threshold of your journey. This is the courageous step, the step you have known you needed to take. Now you are here, ready to fight to claim your life back from addiction.
#6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
When your detox process begins, your tests truly begin. Your mind and body will be tested as you enter the Special World and leave your substances behind. You will find allies in treatment, those who are on a similar journey and helping you. You will also face the enemies in your mind, those negative thoughts and patterns that brought you to this point. This will prepare you for the true tests that lie ahead.
#7. Approach to the Innermost Cave
As your body is cleansed and you are ready to begin the therapeutic portion of your residential treatment, you prepare to approach the Innermost Cave. This is where you will truly confront your demons and battle your shame, guilt, and the reasons you began using drugs and alcohol. You are stronger than you think.
#8. The Ordeal
Facing your past, your trauma, and all of your emotional pain is your Ordeal. Your emotional battle will be intense, but it will be worth it. You are battling for your own life, health, and peace of mind. You will win this.
#9. The Reward
Your reward is your breakthrough moment: when you have achieved sobriety and realize that you are enough. You accept yourself for who you are and what you have done. You are enough.
#10. The Road Back
The road back includes preparing to return to the Ordinary World by building your support network, learning coping techniques, and creating your relapse prevention plan. Doing the work each day in treatment is your road back.
Your transition from treatment back to the Ordinary World will be your final test, your Resurrection. Everything you have learned will be put to the test, and you may feel like you are passing through fire, but you will make it. You have prepared, been tested, refined, and are ready.
#12. Return with the Elixir
Your return with the Elixir is how you implement the wisdom you gained during your hero’s journey. You have proven yourself a hero by achieving sobriety and facing your demons. With that wisdom, you are prepared for your recovery journey. This is the lifelong journey a hero takes through the Ordinary World. You use everything you learned in the Special World, all of the wisdom you gained in your battle, and you continue your journey for yourself. That is your Elixir.
Are you ready to step into your own Hero’s Journey? You may not feel prepared, but what hero in mythology ever really is? Accepting your call to adventure, crossing the threshold of treatment and battling your demons, and winning is your destiny. Your addiction has created a way for you to be tested and refined and to emerge victorious and heroic. At The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women, we are prepared to help guide you through the Special World of detox and residential treatment. Your recovery journey begins here, and we will be your allies as you pass each test along the way. Our Costa Mesa, California facility is a peaceful refuge for you to find your way again, a sanctuary where heroes are forged. We are ready to help you cross the threshold into treatment, are you? Call us today at (714) 581-3974.