Challenge and Change…The Chaos of Recovery

CHALLENGE AND CHANGEOne 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  or contact Leigh-Anne (082)442-5710.

Til next time,

Sober Something

Bite-Size Chunks and Baby Steps…

Don’t for a minute imagine that just because I am a coach I have all the answers for myself all the time.  There are days where just like everyone else I experience self-doubt, insecurity or my personal favourite, anxiety.  For no particular reason I’ll wake up in the morning feeling uncertain and even a little panicky.  Nothing major will have happened to cause these feelings, but there they’ll be…front and centre!  And even though I know what needs to be done to rid myself of these emotions, I’ll find myself in a bit of a battle.  Until I remember that pushing them away will only make them stronger and more powerful.  That by trying to ignore that I am feeling a bit emotionally vulnerable or mentally anguished is not going to make me feel better; in fact quite the opposite.

Reciting positive mantras and trying to “pull myself together” is not the solution that I know works in these cases.  What I do need to do is check in with myself and try to establish why it is that I am feeling this way.  It’s a reminder that I might need to spend some time in quiet introspection, figuring out what it is that’s gnawing at my insides.  Anxiety isn’t necessarily caused by something out of the ordinary.  A situation or thought that was of no consequence yesterday, may cause uneasiness today.  It depends on whether I slept properly, have eaten, am spending too much time alone or what professional challenges I am dealing with on any given day.  And right now I have managed to identify the reason I am feeling like this…

the truth is that although I would love to be coaching full-time, building a business is not an overnight endeavour.  To wave a magic wand and have a practice full of personally empowered and flourishing clients would be nothing short of magical, but these things take time.  So I am presently looking for a job to supplement my coaching income.  I have every intention of pursuing my recovery business on an ongoing basis, but there are bills to be paid and lofty aspirations, no matter how well-developed, don’t pay the rent.

a goal without a planA business plan and a great vision and mission are essential to the branding of a business, but I don’t have the luxury of spending all my time committed to the success of mine while someone else takes care of the financial aspects of life.  Offering people a service such as recovery coaching is not as simplistic as simply opening the doors and watching a line form outside.  There is a good deal of trust that needs to be established and a reputation that needs to be built.  And these are elements of my business that require time, patience and nourishment.  So back to the job hunting, which is nothing short of disheartening.  For me it’s been a humbling lesson over the last couple of weeks as there are no recruiters banging down my door to even interview me, never mind hire me.  So instead of simply submitting my CV with a whole pile of others I’ve come to the realisation (aided by the nudging of others) that I need to get out there and sell myself.  The mere idea of that curls my toes, because I am not a personal fan of the “hard sell”.  In fact I’ll g so far as to avoid the salespeople stationed around the malls and supermarkets on a Saturday morning who are trying to convince people to try a new product.  But it seems that if I want a job in a market as depressed as this one, I’m going to have to stand out from the crowd.  And voila! therein lies the root of my discomfort and anxiety!

So with just a little soul searching and asking myself the right questions I’ve been able to establish that it’s not just about having to put myself out there, but also the idea that I may have to deal with a fair amount of rejection.  That even though I know that the positions I am applying for are well within my capabilities and skill set, doesn’t mean that the recruiters can see this by merely reading a piece of paper.  By no means am I a wilting wall flower, but there are certain things that I do prefer to avoid if I can and being overly assertive with regards to myself is one of them.  So now that I have identified the source of my upset I am going to spend a couple of hours writing out a plan as to how I should proceed.  I have a couple of ideas floating around in my head, but putting them down into an action plan and giving myself some tasks and deadlines, is going to make this whole process far less intimidating and more manageable.  Bit-size chunks and baby steps need to be the approach to this project of finding myself a source of extra income, just while I continue to build my dream and follow my passion.

It’s not exactly what I want to do, but it is what I need to do to ensure that I have the resources to go forward on this path I have chosen for myself.

‘Til next time

Sober Something