Freedom in Recovery: Cultivating Authentic Expression

Dylan assists individuals in recovery to live a healthy authentic lifestyle while pursuing their dreams and goals! He is a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer, recovery coach, and food addictions coach. He is also a spoken word artist. Dylan loves to see individuals using their recovery as an example of what’s possible in the world and he would love to support you in your possibilities!

Dylan Lundgren / dylanplundgren@gmail.com / 561.293.1685

Ayo! Who’s in recovery in the house? You might not be able to tell from this post but I am not an extrovert by nature. Quite to the contrary my friends. I am an introvert. Recovery from addiction taught me what it means to experience freedom; and to express myself authentically! This has not come naturally to me so I would like to pass on to you some ideas concerning this practice. If you feel dull in sobriety, disconnected, depressed, or just a general lack of vitality, I think you’ll find the content useful.

Physician and psychotherapist Alexander Lowen once said “feeling is the inner life” and “expression is the outer life.” Wow. Deep. I think anyone in recovery would agree that in order to get or stay sober one must bring forth certain things from within; whether they be feelings, words, thoughts or actions. Many of us have seen the negative effects of trying to hold onto things that are screaming to get out. Consider the words of Jesus, “If you bring forth what is within you, you will be free. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.” Amen. I am proposing that the practice of authentic expression has just as much to do with a joyous life as it has to do with the principles of recovery.

I don’t know about you but I am not trying to recover just for recovery’s sake. Oh no no no no no. Aside from escaping the hell that is active addiction, I want to experience freedom and authentic expression; without substances. The problem with addiction (okay, there are many) is it’s a sham; a personal and cultural lie. It may promote a sense (read: illusion) of authenticity at first but eventually leads us down the rabbit hole of despair. At this point, our sense of individuality is lost and we become “addicted” or an “addict.” This no longer has to define us in recovery though. It can serve as a reminder of who we have been and point to who we are becoming. Don’t get me wrong. Recovery is a blessing! It is also a foundation; and without a building, a foundation can feel pretty empty!

While exercising at the gym yesterday I took a look around and noticed so many different body shapes and sizes. One thing remained the same: the faces. Wherever I looked everyone appeared SO serious, and to be frank, unhappy! As if no one was having a good time and they were making a job out of it! Think about your body. The number of different movements and expressions it can make. Granted, lifting 50 lbs for 12 reps might not be YOUR ideal expression but come on. The clock’s running out. Do you really want to spend your well-earned time frowning, especially while doing something to improve yourself? I don’t!

Often times, our foundation in recovery gets filled up with actions but our vitality and expression gets discarded in the process. “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” as the saying goes.

Here are three strategies for cultivating a practice of authentic expression:
1) Shake your Body – a great way to start the day is to bounce in place for a few minutes
2) Use your Voice – sing, shout, express vocally (in a safe space lol) whatever wakes you up
3) Write Freely – whether it’s journaling, blogging, or other, write without censoring

These may seem very odd and they are! They are designed to break the habitual patterns and responses in our nervous system. When I was at the gym yesterday, I noticed I was letting the collective vibe affect my attitude so I decided to amuse myself and make grunting sounds while I lifted. My attitude then shifted. Authentic expression can be as simple or ridiculous as that; provided it’s not harming anyone.

Authentic has been described to me as a decision “made from the heart.” What’s one way in which you can authentically express yourself today?

Leave a Comment