There are more than 23 million Americans struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, and millions…
On Being Able to Solve Our Problems in Recovery
“Our problems are man-made; therefore, they can be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, often referred to simply as “JFK,” assassinated Nov. 22, 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald (1961-1963)
How often have we become mired in gloom, certain that our problems are out of the ordinary and certainly beyond solving? We may, indeed, have sunk to tremendous lows as a consequence of our addictive behavior. Many of us in recovery have lost everything: our family, homes, jobs, friends, reputation, health, and mental well-being. Some of us may have lost a little here and there while others have been done in by a series of increasingly negative consequences. The key to remember here is that all of this has been a result of our own bad behavior, the pattern of self-destruction that we were engaged in while we were under the grip of addiction.
That was then and this is now. Today, we are at a crossroads. We have come through treatment, gotten clean and sober, and are at the point where it’s move forward in recovery, do nothing, or slide backward into addiction. Hey, the good news is that getting clean was hard work, a real challenge – and we made it. That’s a big accomplishment and one that we need to acknowledge.
Yes, we face a lot of problems in recovery. All of us do. This is nothing new and certainly nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Sure, we’ll need help. That’s a given. That’s also what our sponsor and fellow 12-step group members are here for, to help support and encourage us along our recovery journey. No, we don’t have all the answers, nor should we expect that we will ever have all of them. Each day unfolds with its own unique opportunities. And that’s a perspective that we need to cultivate. We should look upon each day as a gift, a chance for us to make some real progress in our recovery.
Let’s look for a moment at a couple of the types of problems we may face. It could be that we’ve lost a job and we know we need to be gainfully employed. How do we tackle this? As in all endeavors, we begin with research. Enlist the help and support from our family, our sponsor, and fellow group members. Figure out what we’re good at, what we have knowledge and/or experience in, and go from there. Brainstorm what opportunities or areas there are in the marketplace where we could perhaps get our foot in the door. The point to remember is that we need a plan, and then we need to implement the plan. Part of that may involve going back to school or embarking upon some additional training to make ourselves more marketable in today’s workplace. It may mean starting off well below where we were before, salary-wise. But it is a positive way to approach solving the problem of not having a job.
Another problem may be that we’ve become estranged from our family members and loved ones as a result of our addiction. Though they may have closed the door on us for now, this does not mean that we’re cut off from them forever. Unless, that is, they have died and we no longer have the opportunity to make amends to them directly or attempt to repair the damage we’ve already done. But, even then, we can overcome that tragic turn of events. It won’t be easy and it will take time, but it can be done. We’ll need to work through our grief at the loss – the temporary or permanent loss – and, gradually, get to the point where we know that we have done all we can do and now are approaching our new life in sobriety clear-headed, clean and sober. If it comes to pass that we can be reconciled and reunited with our families and loved ones, it will come out of our sincere and dedicated efforts to remain clean and sober. We cannot count on that or be disheartened if it doesn’t happen. We must work on our own recovery, day in and day out. That will be the way that we learn how to live healthier lives in recovery.