For alcoholics and addicts who find recovery and become willing to do the work, it can seem like we have to start all over again. All our familiar habits, hangouts, and ways of thinking are out the window. This may seem difficult, but only until we realize that all these things contributed to killing us. It wasn’t really us who was living our life — it was our disease. Recovery at Jaywalker Lodge brings us back to life and gives us our life back. Thankfully, we can learn to turn our lives away from our disease and turn it over to our higher power. This is a process, and the only way to practice it is by working the 12-Step program of recovery and incorporating it into our lives.
You Are Not Alone
Everything in recovery seems new, or new all over again, to most of us. We don’t know how to engage in life without our old crutch, so we often feel hesitant. We’re uncomfortable about seeing our friends or family because we don’t know how to act. We have forgotten how to go out to dinner with people or enjoy a friendly get-together. Without our disease controlling everything, it is very common for us to feel uncomfortable. It is a normal human reaction to resist what we don’t understand and feel uneasy about things we’re uncomfortable with. Just because these are normal human reactions doesn’t mean we have to let them deny us our life anymore.
Maybe it’s something as simple as, “I can’t remember the last time I went to a friend’s house sober” or “I don’t know how to talk to people without having something in my system.” These are common fears and anxieties for us alcoholics and addicts when we are new in recovery. Pretty much everybody goes through similar feelings. Over time, with a little help from our recovery community, it is usually not long before we have a conversation while sober or spend time with a friend and experience a completely wonderful, positive time. Alcoholism and addiction once wholly dominated us. Recovery sets us free — finally. It’s not a bad, scary, or even difficult thing when we allow ourselves time to get our feet back under us. We must not lose our perspective. Of course, there will be some adjusting because we’re finally sober. It’s worth enduring a short period where everything seems new and unfamiliar to be able to experience a happy life.
Replace Fear with Curiosity
Whether it’s our job, home life, or love life, recovery requires us to be willing to try new things and see in new ways. This means we must be willing to transition from what didn’t work to trying new things that may work better than we ever thought possible. It takes courage and a leap of faith, but our life is definitely worth that effort.
If we persist in our pursuit of recovery, most of us will soon find that things aren’t as scary as we may fear. We won’t have to be unconfident or uncomfortable in any situation anymore, or ever again. Getting into the rhythm of recovery and getting used to it won’t take much time at all if we really engage in it. And this often results in us learning that there is nothing to fear — only things we don’t know yet. We can replace fear with curiosity. We don’t have to lack confidence when we trust our higher power and the person we’re becoming. We can be ourselves. We can be human. And then before we know it, uncomfortability is replaced by genuine participation and the joy of living.
Even with the new and exciting discoveries of life in recovery, we may still feel overwhelmed by the number of unknowns, the re-learning, and the letting go. These beautiful gifts don’t change the fact that we have to let go of practically every part of our old life. It says as much in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous: “Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas, and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.” In short, this means that until we are willing to let go of our old ways, we may not see any of the miracles and gifts of recovery. However, when we do let go, it will likely not be long at all before we are absolutely blown away and overwhelmed by the beauty, love, and joy of our new present in recovery.
Our active addiction and alcoholism were killing us. Recovery gives us the chance to live. Naturally, we have to learn all sorts of new ways to think and be. That’s half the fun of it — all the old things tarnished by our disease become new again. What was once scary and unknown becomes shiny and new again as well. Someday the shine may dim a little, and then our job is to see with grateful eyes what we once saw with eyes of wonder. Recovery will always help us see through the distortions made by our alcoholic or addict minds, as long as we are willing to trade in our perspective for the beautiful truth.
New things can be scary, and periods of transition and reconstruction can be taxing on multiple levels. But it is up to us to meet the gift of recovery with gratitude, curiosity, and willingness. In time, the odds are great that we will be happy we chose to stick around.
Alcoholism and addiction can severely shrink the lives of those who suffer from it. Their world becomes small, dark, and dictated by this destructive disease. For those who are honestly seeking help, there is a way out. The solution can return the light to darkness and make a happy and full life, not just a dream but a reality. Those who are willing to take action in their recovery find restoration and transformation in amazing ways. If you cannot achieve or maintain recovery on your own, we are here to help. Call Jaywalker Lodge today at (866) 529-9255.
As Chief Executive Officer Bill provides leadership and manage all day-to-day operations of Jaywalker Lodge, an extended care residential addiction treatment program for adult men.