Conquering Problems or Issues in Recovery
“We conquer by continuing.” – George Matheson, Scottish theologian and preacher (1842-1906)
If we are feeling like we cannot possibly continue or that what we have to contend with is just too difficult for us to overcome, we need to sit down and have a good talk with ourselves. What we may be going through could be a temporary setback or something that only requires some minor adjustment in our day-to-day activities. Perhaps we need something a bit more robust. It could be that we’ve attempted to do too much too soon and need to scale our efforts back to a certain degree. Maybe we’ve put too much emphasis on getting a whole lot of items on our recovery to-do list in a limited amount of time.
One point we need to remind ourselves of right off the bat is that there’s no need to be rushing through our days in a continual effort to be first to finish something. We aren’t in a race and there’s no need to feel competitive with what others are doing in their recovery. Each of us is on our own unique recovery path and therefore comparisons are not conducive to our continued progress.
Sure, it is natural to look at the accomplishments of others in the 12-step recovery rooms and to want those same achievements for ourselves. But our way toward this or that goal may differ markedly from that of the person sitting beside us. That doesn’t make it any less valuable, nor does it matter much how long it takes us to reach the particular goal that we’ve set for ourselves nor how we approach the task and realize the accomplishment.
What we do all have in common is that we will continue to overcome our problems or issues in recovery by simply continuing to work the program, to keep on doing the hard work of recovery day in and day out. There’s no slack time, no vacation from recovery and what we need to do to remain clean and sober and committed to our goals.
Where we often stumble is that we get to a point where we think that we have to have a rest, or that we deserve a break or we don’t want to tackle some thorny issue or problem that has cropped up because it’s just too difficult. When we start listening to this little voice in our heads that urges us to do nothing, the result is that we will stall our accomplishments. How can we continue to make progress if all we’re thinking about is how put-upon we feel because we’re so involved in doing recovery work, perhaps to the extent that we feel we’re missing out on the rest of life?
Thinking along those lines is a sure-fire way to disappointment and could even pave the way for a backslide into our old addictive ways. How do we keep those counter-productive thoughts from occupying our mind? We have to keep busy doing the work of recovery. That’s all there is to it. We simply have to keep on keeping on.
Hold on, what about getting some hard-earned rest? This has absolutely nothing to do with rest and taking good care of our health. We can and should be mindful of getting sufficient sleep each night, tending to our needs for nutrition and plenty of appropriate physical exercise. We cannot, as human beings, survive without taking proper care of our bodies. So, any time that we find ourselves falling into the trap of thinking that we need a rest, a hard-earned one, be sure we’re not rationalizing a way to skip doing the work of recovery.
What if we think that only certain people can overcome particularly difficult issues or problems in recovery? Maybe we’re under the mistaken belief that we don’t have the courage to deal with co-workers who constantly remind us of our past failures when we were deep in the throes of addiction, or that only someone very strong can overcome a ruined reputation, bankruptcy, loss of a job, serious health conditions and addiction. The truth is that we all can overcome these and many more issues, problems or difficulties. That doesn’t mean that we’ll surmount our own issues overnight, but if we keep at it, if we seek help when we need it and continue to chip away at the problems, they will be overcome.
Conquer them one at a time and just keep going. The more we take proactive steps to resolve issues and problems in recovery, the greater our knowledge and experience and ability to effectively deal with whatever comes our way in the future.