The roads recovery (from anything!), and life, take are never straight forward, and the ‘recovered’ aren’t forever healed from failure and relapse moments. Here is what I’ve learned through my decades of recovery and discovery.
What let’s us down…
There seems to be this idea, before you’ve made the decision to try to build, or perhaps, even after you’ve taken the leap and you’re trying and ‘failing’ to recover, that recovery is absolute. Perfect. No fails. No repeats. No falls.
This is absolute BULL.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from my decades of recovery from one thing or another, it’s that, quite simply put, it’s a constant, lifelong process of ebbs and flows. Tries and failures. Hits and dodges.
If it’s perfect, it isn’t real…
Look, here’s one of the biggest truths in life… If it seems perfect, it isn’t.
Do you see someone recovered from the thing that is crucifying you, and think ‘I’m just not capable of that. I couldn’t ever imagine this not consuming my life.’?
That person hasn’t had a perfect experience. You don’t suddenly remove every problem that kept you there.
You work through, and slowly challenge yourself more and more.
Then you fail, and it sucks. But it’s necessary, and NOT permanent.
But failing is failing…
Failing is the most imperative part of growth.
If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.
Failing means you are trying, and growing through the process.
What I want to say is this…
The moment you decide to work towards recovery/growth, is the moment you are in recovery…
Recovery is not a goal post. It does not have an end point.
Recovery is the journey.
You don’t have to sit in your lowest moment and sob into yourself because recovery seems SO big, SO much, SO far from anything you could ever see your way out of. Recovery doesn’t require us to be overwhelmed, and it certainly doesn’t require perfect absolution.
The path of recovery is starting exactly where you are, and just being willing to face those demons.
Every person in your life, who supports your road to recovery should understand that it will not be absolute. You are going to want to fight it some days with every inch of your being…
But that in itself is recovery.
You will have days where you feel like you’ve smashed it, you’ve done it, you got ‘there’… and then in moments of relapse, you’ll feel like you ruined everything you worked for. You didn’t. This is a journey, not a goal post.
And every time you start to feel like you’ve messed up in the process of recovery, repeat that to yourself…
Recovery is a journey, NOT a goalpost.
The idea that everyone we see, who is proud, happy, smiling, picture ready, house proud, life proud has no problems, or is who we need to be, or on the flip side is who we dislike purely because they’re proud, is exactly the same as the impression of recovery that we have, and we need to change that…
It’s not that we need more of the nitty gritty. It’s not that we need more people being ‘real’ about falling apart…
WE DON’T NEED TO SEE OTHER PEOPLE’S MESS AND GRIEF FOR OUR OWN REASSURANCE.
What we need to learn to understand is that EVERYONE has their own unique, messy, exhausting, rough, beautiful, destructive, constructive, horrific, wonderful, bitter, terrifying, excruciating, exhilarating journey, behind closed doors.
Once we understand that, we start not needing to seek reassurance for our own experiences, our failures or our recoveries, and we start to just take them as they come, for what they are. That’s when we start to heal.
Don’t get me wrong, when people WANT to share their rough moments, open their doors, share the deep and the raw, that’s great! It’s amazing! And yes it’s helpful to feel like you’re not alone, absolutely! But I think it’s so important to learn that you don’t need to seek out other people’s ‘bad parts’ in order to reassure yourself of your own.
Acceptance, not judgement…
You’ll hear this about your behaviour towards others, but how about to yourself?
Accept yourself and your journey instead of judging yourself, and consequently, judging others.
When you mess up, own it. Feel it. Feel the awkwardness. Feel the disappointment. Acknowledge that it’s necessary and that you tried, and then learn and move forward.
By judging your lows, or comparing yourself, you get stuck in that negative thinking cycle. You fail, you beat yourself up for failing, you focus on everyone else being frustrating/fake/annoying for posting their wins, you feel bad, you stay feeling bad… (I’ve been this person.)
Next time you fail, feel it! Accept it. Think of it as a sign of winning, since the only way you fail is by having the balls to try at anything anyway!
By turning our fails into part of the plan, we put a more productive spin on it, and it helps us to move through it quicker, and to not let it keep us in that hole!
Accept seeing others win, instead of judging either them or yourself for you feeling like you’re not winning. Accept that EVERYONE is failing, and their wins are not your losses.
Other people’s wins are not your losses…
One of the most important messages in both recovery and life…
Other people winning does NOT mean you are losing.
If you’re in a relapse, or a tough moment, and you talk to someone who isn’t, this does not mean you’re losing… You are still on this journey of trying, so you ARE winning…
You are winning in your own journey.
The longer you hold on to your fails, and the longer you stay focused on how much you’ve lost by failing, is the longer you’re spending stuck down there feeling like there’s no way out.
Take the time, and ask yourself what you know? What you’ve learned? Tell yourself you’ve been here before and gotten yourself out…
Ask yourself what it was that happened to get you back here?
Ask yourself what you see for yourself? Where do you want to be?
Recovery and growth…
NEVER absolute. NEVER clean. NEVER tidy. NEVER perfect.
Recovery is a journey, NOT a goalpost.
Self acceptance over Self judgement.
Forgive yourself. Often.