Can we just will ourselves into recovery? If it were really that simple, it’s likely that everyone would be in recovery. Unfortunately, recovery is a little more complicated than that. Just as there’s no single solution that works for everyone, there’s also no single timetable that’s universal.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that we’re each capable of recovery. We do, however, need to galvanize our self-determination and make things happen. That requires action, consistent and constant and forward-moving action.
When it comes to figuring out what it is that we want out of our new life in sobriety, however, many of us falter. Whether we’re unsure or afraid of the future and what we want or should be doing for our recovery, this is a normal feeling – especially in the early months of recovery when everything is so new. We have so much to learn that we may feel inundated and a bit overwhelmed at times, but this is also normal and nothing to worry about.
The key is to find something each day that we can do that helps further our recovery plan. It doesn’t have to be a big thing to be meaningful. In the beginning, when we have just begun recovery, simply attending 12-step meetings on a regular basis will help ground us in recovery principles and help us maintain a solid and consistent schedule, so important to regaining balance in our lives.
Gradually, we can add more items on our to-do list, but we should never put too much on our plates at once. That’s tantamount to fueling a sense of inadequacy and may lead to us abandoning our plans and goals altogether or in part. Not a good thing. Instead, try to balance out each day so that there’s adequate time to rest and recharge. Keep some time to ourselves so that we can analyze what went right today, what we did that was successful and/or helped us achieve progress toward our goals, or what we did that somehow fell a little short of our expectations. In other words, we need to take the time to look at what we do each day to see how we can learn from it. In so doing, we need to revise or alter our action plan for the coming day so that we can take advantage of what today’s actions have shown us.
Of course, we can look at each day in two diametrically opposed ways. We can look at what we’ve done and beat ourselves up about perceived failures or shortcomings or we can maintain a positive outlook, acknowledging the effort we put into our actions today and learning from whatever the results may have been. Which do we think helps motivate us to keep moving forward in recovery?
The answer, undoubtedly, is the positive outlook. When we can take our emotional temperature and decide for ourselves how we are going to address challenges and issues that crop up, we are better able to navigate what may be stormy weather. There will be times when we need to pause and reconnoiter our position, to adjust our plans, possibly even alter our course for a time. How we tend to look at our life is purely up to us. No one else can do this for us.
So, since we make our own weather, so to speak, we can create the emotional universe within which we choose to live. Given this analogy, who would ever choose to live in a non-stop atmosphere of turbulence, constant storms and perilous floods? Rather, we can choose to inhabit our own universe that accommodates sunny skies (positive outlook) and calls up the wind when needed (motivation) so that we can make progress toward our destination (recovery).