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  • Erik Frederickson

Grandiose Thinking

I stayed inebriated for well over a decade. It was normal for me to get drunk or high and almost immediately my mind would float away to a place of grandiose dreaming. The day did come when I finally did surrender to the victory of recovery and addiction went to the wayside. It was in 12 step meetings that I recall this topic of “grandiose thinking” coming up regularly, and often with a negative or degrading tone. I would hear people talk about how addicts and alcoholics need to quit that big thinking and dial it down. I recall “old timers” saying things like, “if you just stay clean and sober for the rest of your life you’ve succeeded.” This is absolutely true, but a degrading delivery doesn’t encourage or empower the person new in recovery. Can people in recovery get unrealistic and delusional about what they want to accomplish in life and how fast they want to do it? Absolutely, but so can anyone. Recovery or not. One thing that I believe is not helpful for people in recovery is this backward way of thinking that when we degrade ourselves or each other it somehow builds us up. Recovery is about learning to think of myself less, not think less of myself. When my mind shifted from a "poor pitiful me" attitude and into a "how I can help someone else" attitude many of my problems began to disappear. Belittling someone for having grand dreams is unhealthy and more revealing of the accuser's heart, not the dreamer. Often times when a person is trying to tear someone else down that is working towards their dreams it is because they are personally unsatisfied that they aren’t living in their own dreams.


I believe we are supposed to have big dreams and partnered with those dreams a work ethic to bring them about. What if people in recovery dream big because God created them to do big things? And what if the resistance against them only confirms the potential within them?


The issue that some people in recovery struggle with is that they don’t understand the value of the process of turning those dreams into reality. The clear and needed perspective of patience and endurance has often been warped by the substances and mentality of immediate gratification. If you’re in recovery and you have big dreams, GOOD! Keep dreaming, as a matter of fact, dream bigger! But also understand that your grand imagination needs to be partnered with practical action steps, a value for hard work, and an understanding that anything worthwhile takes time and intentionality. Don’t let someone who hasn’t dared chase the dreams of their heart scare you out of bringing yours into reality. Go for it! The world needs to experience your dreams on display.


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Erik is a certified Life Coach and Recovery Coach. He has been coaching people into recovery and more of their life purpose for years.

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