“I Just Want to Be Done Already” By Estil Wallace Recovery is a lifelong effort and accepting that fact can
Will This Ever Get Easier?
Like everything in life, your sobriety will change as time goes on. The things that present the greatest challenges to you now will slowly but surely become familiar, while new points of mental conflict might arise, requiring your newfound attention and resolve.
The truth is that you may not be able to count on sobriety ever becoming easier. What you can count on is that it will change and, if you put in the effort, you’ll change right along with it. Every path of recovery has ups and downs, but by keeping your eye on your long-term goals, you’ll come to see the good days and the bad days as necessary stepping stones towards the day you’re able to look back upon your life with satisfaction.
You Get What You Give
Sobriety is not static. On any given day, you’re either moving forward or moving backward in your recovery process; you are never standing still. Even on a day when it feels like you did nothing to further your progress, even if all you did was refrain from drinking or using, you’ve moved forward. Each day that you successfully fend off cravings and desires to return to old behaviors, you’ve reinforced your sobriety in the very makeup of your brain a little more. No step forward, no matter how small, is for nothing.
At the same time, be demanding in your honesty with yourself regarding any ways in which you may regress. No step backward, however small, is something to be waved off as unimportant. Mistakes happen, and over the course of your recovery, you’re bound to encounter obstacles which present more of a challenge than you expected. Be careful to acknowledge any slip-ups in full, to yourself and to anyone who holds you accountable, be it your family, therapist, or treatment professional. In the grand scheme of your progress, the most important part of making a mistake is picking yourself back up as quickly as possible and learning how to avoid the same problems in the future.
Difficult days can wear on you, and no matter where you are in your recovery, some days will be tougher than others. Be aware of your mental state as you move through your new life. Give yourself time to recover from especially demanding challenges and give yourself grace on the days when you don’t achieve as much as you’d hope for yourself. Remember, you’re playing the long game, and every day you move forward is something to be proud of.
Keeping Track of Milestones
In some ways, staying on track with your recovery will certainly take you out of the woods. Keeping a record of your personal milestones as you reach them will allow you to look back upon your progress and remember how far you’ve come, which can be especially helpful when you’re staring down a new challenge that seems insurmountable in the moment.
Your milestones may include definitive steps in recovery, like checking into treatment and completing rehab. 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) use badges that celebrate incremental successes, such as going 100 days sober. Personal milestones that you can evaluate for yourself can include repairing a relationship that previously suffered due to your addiction, making it through a situation that would have once led you to destructive behavior without giving in to the temptations, and developing new outlets for negative emotions, from creative expression to practicing new skills for managing your thoughts and feelings.
Look to the Longterm
When thinking about your future as a healthy, fulfilled person, it’s important to consider tangible goals and even make a rough draft of a plan of action. Even if you’ve already spoken with your sponsor or therapist about where you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years, revisiting your long-term goals can take on even more significance once you’re looking at them from the perspective of having already achieved some success in sobriety.
While sobriety may eventually move to the backburner of your mind, taking up less of your immediate mental attention, it will remain a part of your life that requires your active, intentional effort. To work on your recovery is to work on your own well-being and, in that regard, the work is never done. Like a job that you value or a relationship that you hold dear, your sobriety is an investment, and if you put in the effort to better yourself, you’re building the value you place in your own wellbeing. There isn’t a worthier investment you could make.
No matter where you are in your recovery, sobriety takes work. Some days it’ll come naturally, and some days you’ll struggle with things you thought you’d already addressed. Whether you’re just starting out on your journey to recovery, or you’re already getting the hang of it and are looking towards the future, going it alone only makes it harder on yourself. At Cornerstone Healing Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, we know that each day of recovery provides new challenges and new opportunities to succeed. We offer total support, from medical services and therapy sessions to outpatient programs, ensuring that you put your best foot forward with every step you take on your path to living a healthier life. It may not always be easy–in fact, it may seem like the work never ends–but the investments you make into your own wellbeing will come back to you in the form of a life of safety, happiness, and fulfillment. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.
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