Recovery often feels like two steps forward and one step back - and sometimes one step forward and two steps back. Again and again.
We often feel like the world is against us. that we have no willpower. That we are the victim. We just can't go on anymore.
We have tried every possible way. We feel weak, exhausted and full of self-pity --- and self-hate. And we often look for something or someone to save us. Someone to save us from ourselves before we drown. Drowning in the rivers we have created with our tears, blood and sweat.
The more we become comfortable with the process - that life is a journey, the easier it becomes to accept the storms of life.
This skill-practice is imperative, so that we no longer turn the external turmoil into internal chaos.
When we can accept that yes, relapse is simple part of the journey - that we just get up again and move along, the quicker we learn the lesson that every addiction is trying to teach us on a deeper level: to stop chasing the fix. To simply breathe in, and go with the flow - ups and downs and be OKAY with that. Be okay with being in this skin.
Most of us are incredibly poor at managing any emotional turmoil.
The minute we experience a feeling that is uncomfortable, we seek an EXIT. Whether that be Facebook likes, selfies, alcohol, ice cream, drugs, screaming rants, gossip sessions, obsessing over calories, sex, shopping, stealing. Whatever our rush of choice is, few of us can say we master the skill of leaning into pain.
The thing is, the more we repress and refuse and ignore - the greater the secret, the deeper the wound, the more disconnected we end up.
Like a credit card where the interests grows to insurmountable heights, because we refused to pay off the balance, when it was in reach. Instead we ignore it and open up another and another. Like a 5 year old ignoring that for every action there is a reaction - we just want what we want, and we want it now.
At some point the picture crumbles.
We wake up one day, no longer recognize the person staring back at us in the mirror. AKA what often is called midlife-crisis. We only get a midlife crisis, if we don't evaluate the steps in life along the way. This is why THE JOURNEY is the key.
There is no final destination. Nothing and no one can fix us, apart from when we choose to lean in - face our fears and be OK with that we are NOT OK.
Being OK with not being OK makes everything OK.
Not overnight, mind you - another lesson we need to master to thrive in recovery is patience, persistence and consistency. And this translates into that we need to continue to show up for ourselves even in times of distress, and when we feel like our skin is crawling. The more we show up, instead of repress, the quicker the dis-eases can let go of its hold on us.
The more we distract, the more it grows its holds on us.
Why I encourage you to commit this week, to check in with yourself daily. In the beginning you may not even know what I am talking about -- trust the process, this is a skill that you will learn how to master the more you do it.
It can be done very simply by taking a deep breath in or pinching yourself every time you feel uncomfortable. This helps to bring you back into your body, and you then ask yourself what is it you might be needing right now. And yes, I know you won't likely be able to answer that question the first thousands of times you ask yourself that. The answer will on autopilot just go to your primary distraction of choice - not your true need. And that's OK. Just put a small break into your current chain of behaviors. This is the real secret to changing voluntarily, when we have no willpower - becoming conscious of why we do what we do, and what we are silently yearning for.
You begin to build small bridges back to your heart and soul.
One day you will realize that the impulse to self-destruct will leave you too - as it does with everyone who choose to wake up and take one step every day, regardless of yesterday's events.
Always moving, always walking. even if you need to crawl.
In one month of committing to checking in with yourself and how you feel daily, you will begin to understand what lies beneath your seemingly irrational cravings and behaviors. You will slowly begin to see clearly what it is you truly, deeply, madly need - whether that be self-care, love, nurture, nourishment, stability or the habit of saying NO when you need to, and YES when you should be showing up in life instead of hiding.
Today, make a commitment to take a deep breath or physically pinch yourself every time you feel yourself slipping away - and then ask yourself "What do I really need now?"
And be OK with that you may not have the answer right now.
It's OK. You are OK. And everything will be just fine. Just breathe.