It doesn’t take much for life to get busy, even for those of us who are new in recovery. It can happen so quickly that we forget the fear and terror of our previous lives in alcoholism and addiction. Initially, we were so relieved and so grateful for sobriety and recovery. Being returned to life and mostly free from our disease, we often forget the things that got us here and begin letting our lives get busy. We have jobs, friends, family obligations, exercise, errands to run, meals to cook, and naps to take. It’s okay if we miss a couple of meetings here and there, right?
Maybe, but most likely not. Think of how unknowingly we lost ourselves to our disease over time. It likely happened little by little, one thing at a time. We just had a drink in the morning on weekends, but soon we were drinking in the morning before work, then we lost our jobs. Little by little, we got worse. It’s too easy to slide in subtle ways back into our old, potentially fatal habits. But life does get busy, doesn’t it? Certainly, the 12-Step program helps us recover so that we can live our lives. Is it really so bad to be busy living the life recovery has given us?
No, it isn’t bad. Recovery is precisely about learning how to live a happy, full, meaningful, and busy life. It wouldn’t be much of a life in recovery if that weren’t the point. But it is the 12-Steps and the lifestyle of recovery that allow us to live, and we will have better results if we give them their proper place. We risk living dangerously when we take on the mindset of having to “pencil in” recovery to fit our busy lives.
A Firm Foundation
You can’t put the foundation of a house on the second floor — it would collapse. The foundation must be what the rest of the house is built on. The 12-Steps and their accompanying lifestyle are the foundation of our new lives in recovery. They must remain there if we aim to build a beautiful new life and keep it. Of course, life gets busy, but we are risking our lives if we let our to-do list get in the way of our recovery. Meetings, 12-Step work, fellowship with our recovery community, and service to others are each an invaluable part of our new, healthy life. We really can’t afford to put any one of them on the backburner. They are the things that allow us to be our best and to be present for our families, our friends, our jobs, and our hobbies and passions.
There is no need to worry about running out of time or finding time for it all. It may seem counterintuitive, but busy people sometimes get more done. In reality, doing the necessary work to maintain and grow our recovery doesn’t take time out of our lives — quite the opposite. It gives us more time to live our lives and lets us participate at our best. It may be helpful to stop thinking about our lives as busy and start thinking of them as full — full of things with meaning and purpose, all made possible by the time we dedicate to our recovery.
Integrating Recovery into Our Lives
Another thing we might want to shift our perspective on is the dividing line between “recovery work” and “our life.” Is it necessary that they be separate, different things? Perhaps integrating them might improve the quality and functioning of both. If we take the leap to make recovery the foundation of our lives and let recovery work become an integral part of our lives, we may begin to experience the full scope of how much recovery can benefit us. Indeed, the recovery literature encourages us to bring spiritual principles and techniques into every area of our lives. It even tells us this is just as important, if not more important than practicing recovery principles in meetings and with our sponsor.
Recovery is not a class, not a gym session with a personal trainer, and not a job we punch in and out of. We likely didn’t only drink or use during certain hours, unless we were trying to hide it. Even more likely, we didn’t keep our alcoholism and addiction to a certain schedule except when we were trying desperately to control it. For most of us, our alcoholism and addiction took over every part of our lives, all the time, no matter what else was going on. If the 12-Steps are the solution to our disease, it stands to reason that we may need to engage with that solution with the same fervor and priority. That is how we stay free and continue to grow.
Of course, the 12-Step way of life is much easier to live than life in the grasp of drugs and alcohol. It gives us plenty of time to be with the people and do the things that are important to us. The whole system works more smoothly when we integrate recovery into our lives, instead of keeping the two apart. A life in recovery can be filled with all the things that make life worth living, as long as we spend a good time using the tools that keep us alive in the first place.
A life ruled by alcoholism and addiction often isn’t much of a life at all. Thankfully, there is a solution to this deadly disease. The 12-Step program of recovery has saved many lives and it can save yours as well. If you earnestly want to break free from your alcoholism and addiction and you are willing to do the necessary work, Jaywalker Lodge is here to help. Sometimes, even in recovery, life gets so busy that we fail to make our recovery the priority that it should be. Jaywalker Lodge can teach you not only the tools you need to achieve recovery but how to successfully integrate your recovery into your busy life. We specialize in helping men with a tendency to relapse despite an honest desire to recover. We firmly believe that anything is possible in recovery. Let us show you how to finally believe it, too. To learn more about our programs, call us 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.