Keep Going in Recovery

Posted on February 13th, 2012
Posted in Articles

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius, ancient Chinese thinker, educator and social philosopher, founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought (551 BC-479 BC)

Facing challenges can be difficult, if not totally discouraging, especially in early recovery. This is a time when we’re still raw and vulnerable, unsure of ourselves, fearful, distrusting, and uncertain of our abilities. In fact, many of us fear that we don’t have what it takes at all. We’re often too eager to give it all up, despite how far we’ve already come.

Instead of literally throwing it all away and possibly falling into relapse in the process, take the time to slow down and think things through. Is what we’re now going through anywhere near as tough as what we’ve already been through? Remember how tough detox was and the first few days of rehab? Surely we felt we’d never make it through those dark days, but somehow we did.

Sure, being with others in treatment may have seemed a little isolated and safe. It was meant to be, because we needed that time to begin the healing process. We couldn’t expect that we’d emerge after 30 days, or 60 days, or three or six months and be completely ready to take on the world. Recovery doesn’t quite work that way.

In fact, recovery is an ongoing process, something that we need to remind ourselves of from time to time. We often have a tendency to want to rush things, to get to the end of something even before we’ve hardly begun. Whether it’s Step One or Step Twelve, we just want to be done with it so we can move on.

Guess what? We’re always going to be in recovery. This isn’t a race, and there’s no point in trying to rush what it is we’re attempting to learn. Like the tortoise, slow and steady is the best course. Okay, so that was a race, but the point is that the tortoise had a goal and kept right on going, despite what looked like impossible odds. It’s the same principle for those of us in recovery who may be attempting what seems to us to be an incredibly difficult, long and arduous process. We just need to keep moving, one step at a time (literally and figuratively).

Will there be bumps in the road? Undoubtedly there will be, but that doesn’t mean that we need to give up or feel discouraged in any way. In fact, the old-timers in the 12-step rooms will tell us that it’s often through the little detours along our path that we find we’ve learned something incredibly profound, something we’d never discover if we hadn’t had to stop and navigate around a bump or minor obstacle. And even if it’s a major obstacle, we can turn that around and find the opportunity hidden within.

None of this comes automatically, however. We cannot expect that we’ll just magically be endowed with powers that make us able to find the gold in every pile of mud that we come across. It takes time and training and perseverance. It takes having a positive attitude and a willingness to put in the hard work that opportunities almost always entail.

Therein lays the best part. We get out of our recovery what we put into it. Recovery is, after all, a journey. It requires hard work. No one else can recover for us. It’s something that we have to do. But having said that, it’s also important that we remind ourselves that we are not on this journey alone. We are comforted and supported and encouraged by our 12-step sponsor and fellow group members, as well as our caring family members and loved ones.

Keep moving ahead, one step at a time. Don’t worry that others are moving faster than we are or compare our progress with that of another. We each have our own path. It matters not our speed, only our diligence. With determination and continued action, we will find that our recovery, while it may never be easy, will become more manageable and effective. For some of us, it may come to be second nature, but it will never be taken for granted.

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