Finding Your Way Out of Difficulties in Recovery

Posted on June 13th, 2012

“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost, American poet, often regarded as the most recognized poet of the twentieth century (1874-1963)

Those who love poetry know well the writings of Robert Frost. But here, speaking words that seem to encourage perseverance, Frost reminds us that we have to keep on going if we are to find our way out of difficulties. Though his thoughts may here be taken somewhat out of context, the wisdom in them is as applicable to anything we might face in our lives today.

Who among us hasn’t face trials and tribulations, had to deal with messy and complicated problems, found solutions amid chaos and hope despite pain? Whether we are new to recovery or have been living in sobriety for many months or years, there comes a time when we all have some obstacle or challenge that threatens to overcome us, perhaps even to do us in. We don’t know if we have the strength, the courage, or even the wherewithal to get beyond this current state we find ourselves in.

But somehow we do.

Well, some of the time we do. Other times, we may not put much stock in our ability to keep on going. When that occurs, we’re not giving ourselves enough credit. Beyond that, we may very well be giving up just when we were getting started on the right path toward solving our problems.

We never know what we’re going to face around the next corner. That’s because none of us has a crystal ball or is able to see into the future. We can intend to do certain things, work toward achieving particular goals, and do all that we can to ensure that we make progress toward them, but we are never one hundred percent sure that we’ll get there.

Such is the nature of life. But we cannot and should not allow the possibility of failure to deter us from making good on our efforts to overcome our difficulties. It is from the experience of overcoming them that we gain knowledge, and that knowledge stands us in good stead for the next time we encounter a similar difficulty. Then, we at least have a foundation from which to tackle the problem, because we’ve been there before, took appropriate action, and it worked.

Let’s also point out that not every problem will have the same solution. That is, not every problem will be solved by employing the same solution. We have to learn to be adaptive, to be flexible, to study results and adopt the best of what works for us, combining techniques that offer promise, and discarding – at least for now – the rest. Through it all, what we’re doing is finding our way out of difficulties by working through them.

No, it isn’t easy. Or, rather, it rarely is. There probably are some of us who find it easier to get through a thorny period than others. Maybe that’s because we’ve had so much practice at it and have developed a strategy for how to approach and tackle problems when they arise. This is a skill set that we may be able to pass on to others in the rooms of recovery. There it would be welcome, indeed, since we all have need of such tools to enhance our ability to manage our recovery.

What about those of us who have experienced failure after failure? Those of us who have never had any success to speak of may not believe ourselves capable of pushing through difficulties, even though we may dearly wish to. How can we believe that we have the strength to do so, when we’ve never been able to count on our inner resolve before?

Well, we made it through detox and rehab and got clean and sober, didn’t we? We surely didn’t get there alone, but it very much depended on our commitment and determination to see the process through. That shows us – or it should – that we do have what it takes. A lot of encouragement and support along the way made the journey a little less distasteful, and for that, we’re no doubt supremely grateful. Still, here we are, facing a new life in sobriety, not knowing exactly what to do, how to do it, or when to do what needs to be done to ensure our continuing sobriety.

Look to our sponsor, to our fellow group members in the rooms of recovery, our loved ones and close friends. These are the individuals who will help us keep our focus firmly on out stated commitment to sobriety. Their unwavering encouragement and support will help us navigate the stormy waters, see us through the tough times and be there to celebrate our accomplishments when we overcome our difficulties.

The best way out of difficulties is to manage our way through them. We cannot ignore them, since they’re unlikely to go away. We cannot just say we’ll live with them, for our lives will likely become the worse for it. Dealing with issues as they arise, using the best tools in our recovery toolkit and relying upon the wisdom and guidance of others who’ve faced similar issues or problems will help. In the end, though, we must do the work ourselves to get through our difficulties and past them.

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