One of the recurring themes in the recovery coaching work that I do is that people think that once they have undergone possible treatment and are now working their recovery, that life is going to be easy. That everything is miraculously going to get better, that relationships are going to mend and that life is suddenly going to be everything we dreamed of… The truth is that things are going to get a lot better, but this doesn’t happen overnight and there is no Recovery Fairy that waves a magic wand and fixes everything that was broken. Recovery takes hard work and dedication to the recovery plan you have decided on for yourself. Once you have identified the emotional, physical, mental, social and spiritual recovery capital that you need to support you in your journey, and been equally honest about your recovery liabilities – those things that are likely to be detrimental to our recovery.
I can vouch for the fact that recovery is a wonderful journey, but like any adventure there are obstacles and challenges along the way. As we grow and develop in all areas of our lives, the people closest to us may be confused and unsure of the changes that are taking place. They may feel vulnerable and “left out” because they don’t understand what’s happening to the person who has for so long been unwell. Their role in the relationship changes and they may not want or enjoy the new place in our lives that they now occupy. You may not need them as much…asking them to help you out, fix your mistakes and pick up the pieces as you did in the past. So even though you are well and growing as an individual, they may feel confused about where they fit into your recovery. So rebuilding your relationships requires applying the spiritual principles such as tolerance, patience and acceptance. You may need to practice accountability, forgiveness and love as the people in your life find their place in your recovery space. It’s not always easy as there may be issues of co-dependency in your relationships, where others are reliant on your substance abuse disorder to define their role in the relationship.
So as you change, grow and develop without them, there is a gap between you. And this is just one of the challenges of recovery. Because besides the fact that your friends and family might not understand the changes that you are undergoing, you are also faced with having “lost your best friend” and feeling an unbearable emptiness. A void that you need to learn how to fill with new, healthy past times and activities. Exploring what feeds your soul can be exhausting, but the end result is that your life can be filled with meaning and fulfillment. That you start to live with purpose, pursuing your goals with determination and authenticity. But these goals don’t determine themselves and purpose doesn’t drop into your lap just because you have decided to work your recovery. Soul searching with honesty and willingness can be oh so draining, but as you start to (re)learn and (re)discover what drives and motivates you, you will begin to live with a vigor and passion that has been lying dormant through your active addiction.
Whatever your recovery choices are, by moving forward and focusing on the future, rather than wallowing in the past, you will begin to find a new rhythm to your life. Initially recovery may seem like a lot of work, devoid of any fun and enjoyment, so be sure to reward yourself for the work that you are doing! My clients often find recovery overwhelming, all work and no play, so to speak. I believe that it is crucial to take some time out and “pat yourself on the back” for a job well done. I encourage them to spend some time thinking about healthy activities and events that will bring them a sense of excitement and pleasure, that are inline with their recovery goals. Perhaps that means a day at the amusement park, a weekend away, a new outfit or pair of shoes, that book or movie they’ve been dying to get to or a relaxing afternoon at the spa. The choice is yours, depending on the type of activity that brings you enjoyment. What brings happiness to one person is totally different to that of the person sitting next to them in a Recovery Wellness Program, at an AA or NA meeting or in a treatment program. The challenge is to find those things that bring a smile to your lips and a glow to your core.
Just remember that everyone’s Road to Recovery is unique. The successes need to be celebrated and the tests along the way can be triumphantly overcome with learned tools, techniques and recovery capital. So don’t despair if you are finding your recovery a little chaotic or a touch arduous, there are people to support and guide you through these trying periods. If you are interested in more information about Recovery Coaching and learning about how to develop recovery capital and spiritual principles and tools and techniques for living a fulfilled and purposeful life in recovery, visit http://www.thefoundationclinic.co.za or contact Leigh-Anne (082)442-5710.
Til next time,