It’s common for those of us who are new to recovery to have low opinions of ourselves. We are still healing from our active alcoholism and addiction, and we may find it difficult to shake a bleak view of who we are and the future we expect to have. But one major key to happy and successful recovery is embracing a hopeful outlook, and this includes a kinder view of ourselves.
Recovery isn’t about paying the price for our past — the past was punishment enough. Recovery is about righting what we can, healing as best we can, and having hope for the future. When we keep beating ourselves up for the past, or for not being who we want to be, we lose our motivation to stay in recovery.
Nobody wants to help someone they don’t like and if we expect to enjoy long-term recovery, we really need to be on our own team. The good news is that at Jaywalker Lodge, we’ll have plenty of other people on our team with us. A healthy and happy recovery isn’t a solo mission, but it is up to us to take the initiative.
Finding Your Way Out of Dark Places
Life has its ups and downs, and it isn’t realistic to think we’ll feel great all the time, even though we will feel better in general. When we get low, think negatively, or lose some hope, it becomes paramount that we do the things necessary to shake ourselves out of it. We can’t afford to stay in those dark places too long, for if we do we risk our sobriety, our recovery, and perhaps our very lives. When we find ourselves in a low or tough spot, we have to open up our sponsor and our recovery network at Jaywalker Lodge. We have to attend meetings, especially when we don’t want to, and open up to the people in attendance with us. We have to be honest and speak up about where we are, and then let the experience and caring of others help us.
Bad days and bad thoughts do happen, sometimes for no reason. Maybe we feel like we’re not getting better fast enough, or our lives aren’t awesome and they should be by now. Maybe we think we’ll just never get it right. We must open up to others when we feel like this. We will likely be surprised when the people around us say that they’ve felt the same way before. Then we should listen carefully to what they did about it, how they got through, and why it was worth it.
Giving Control to Our Higher Power
Too often we get an idea in our head of how things should be and by what certain time. This is a dangerous game, when we judge ourselves and our lives and try to take back control. The 1st-Step is vital to remember — we gave control over to our higher power, because things get rough when we’re in command. So we can’t demand how things should be, we can only work towards being the people we wish to be and living the life we want to live.
We don’t rightly know how long that should take or what it should look like. We’re playing with fire when we compare our timelines or journeys to others, as we each have our own path to walk. The beauty is that we get to walk side-by-side in recovery at Jaywalker Lodge, and the good things will come if we work for them.
Rather than being upset or saddened by thinking about the way things should be, or wondering why it’s taking longer than we expected, we need to turn to the recovery literature and to the 12-Steps. In these things, we find that patience is a virtue often rewarded, and expectations are almost always harmful impediments to happiness and serenity. These are big, lofty concepts, but we must ask ourselves honestly, “Do we want to be right and in control, or do we want to be happy and live meaningfully?” Seriously. It would serve us well to reflect upon this question, and ask it to ourselves often.
Far too often we lose our progress and serenity to comparison, judgment, expectation, and demand. Almost everyone has seen the cartoon of the miners. Two men are digging for diamonds. The first man has decided to give up — he’s been digging long enough and hard enough and he’s decided it just isn’t going to happen for him, so he walks away. He never finds out that the diamonds he was seeking were just inches away. The second miner is digging happily and calmly.
He knows the work is hard and he doesn’t know how far away his reward is, but he knows the work he has to do. He has decided to give it his best no matter how long it takes. If he does what’s necessary to keep his spirits up, he’ll eventually find the diamonds — probably sooner than he thinks. This may seem like a silly depiction, but ask anyone who has been in recovery for a while. They’ll tell you they see it happen all the time.
We cannot know what the future holds for certain. But we can know that as long as we try our very best to work the program of recovery and engage the lifestyle of recovery in an active way, there are untold pockets of diamonds in our future. Don’t leave before your miracle happens — it’s only a matter of time on the road of happy destiny.
Alcoholism and addiction steal hope from those who suffer within their grasp. The path to recovery is well-lit by the hope that someday we can free of our disease and turn our lives around. For those who earnestly seek help and recovery, it’s never too late to start your journey. If you find yourself struggling to get on board or stay involved in long-term recovery, Jaywalker Lodge was built specifically to help people like you bridge the gap and finally find permanent sobriety. To learn more, call us today at (866) 529-9255.