This is a common question among those of us who are new to recovery. It’s a legitimate concern and quite the philosophical bombshell. After our alcoholism and addiction and the newness and unfamiliarity with the rooms of recovery, it’s understandable to wonder if life will ever be normal again. Is life ever normal, for anyone? What do we mean when we say normal? There’s a lot of good news to answer this question. But much like life itself, it might not look the way you’d expect.
What Does “Normal” Mean Anyway?
Everyone has an idea of what normal life looks like for them, but rarely do people share the exact same definition. However, there are some common themes. Most people want a happy relationship with a significant other, a group of friends to share life with, good relationships with their family, a healthy body and mind, a job that they enjoy or that pays well (or both), etc. But each of these things has so many fine details that differ for all of us. It’s normal for some people to eat steak every day, and it’s normal for some people to only eat vegetables. Both are normal ways to eat, but each sounds extreme to people who prefer the other way. Preferences play a big role in determining what is normal for each of us.
There really is no such thing as normal. Normal doesn’t exist on a blanket scale because it’s different for all of us. So, will any of us ever have a normal life? No. What we really mean when we ask about having a “normal” life is probably closer to this — will I have a happy life that I enjoy, one that is full of love? Yes! A million times, yes. Now that we’ve discussed the semantics, we can get back on track.
Our Old Life Wasn’t Normal
As alcoholics and addicts in recovery, we have to remember that we’ve experienced a different life than most. It’s why we get along so well in meetings and in fellowship — we’re the ones who can best relate to each other’s experiences. As normal as life in alcoholism and addiction may have seemed, it wasn’t normal. It was killing us. Maybe there is no pat definition for normal, but it’s easy to agree that our lives in our active disease certainly weren’t normal, no matter how we justified it.
Being imprisoned by our disease was nothing short of hell for most of us and it became the norm, but it doesn’t have to remain that way. Whatever we have suffered or lost to our disease does not have to be part of our everyday life. In fact, those terrible experiences and losses are turned into helpful lessons and ways to relate to other newcomers in the program. Soon after beginning to work the 12-Steps, we will see the day when our greatest pains are transformed into something that comforts another person and helps them to relate to recovery enough to pursue it for themselves. As we grow in recovery ourselves, our pasts become a testament to the wonders found in the program.
It Gets Way Better Than “Normal”
We once existed in a state where the mental obsession, physical allergy, and spiritual malady drove us incessantly to serve our disease. We did so much that hurt ourselves or others and suffered greatly. But we justified it as “normal” life because we were only doing what we had to do to appease our disease.
Luckily for us, we have now found the program of recovery. As long as we engage with the fellowship, live the recovery lifestyle, and work the 12-Step program of spiritual action, we will remain firmly on the road of recovery. This has a nearly infinite amount of benefits, not the least of which are emotional balance, mental clarity, spiritual growth, maturity, the opportunity to grow as a person in a community of people, and the ability to pursue dreams for our lives that were previously impossible for us.
Don’t think for a second that this short list sounds too good to be true, because this isn’t even the half of it. Go on and read the book Alcoholics Anonymous for yourself, and see just how much amazing stuff is in store for us as we work the 12-Step program of recovery. We will be able to handle situations that used to baffle us, as long as we remain connected to our higher power. We will come to know joy, usefulness, and fulfillment in daily life that we never could have imagined.
To wish for a normal life is a fine and beautiful goal, but it may be selling yourself short in recovery. Our lives before finding the program were anything but normal. Though it can be painful, we will be asked to part ways with many of our old ideas, behaviors, habits, and attitudes. We will have to leave our old lives behind in order to grasp the life that’s awaiting us in recovery. Very little of the past will be allowed to stay if we wish to thrive in recovery, but what we lose will be replaced by things more wonderful than we ever dreamed. It’s worth the trade-off — there’s no doubt about it.
Alcoholics and addicts suffer from a disease that leaves wreckage everywhere. As the disease takes over, it causes problems and often traumatic consequences throughout the sufferer’s life. The self-destructive habits and behaviors adopted while dominated by the disease can become so ingrained and familiar that they almost seem comfortable, despite the pain and trouble they cause. Those with alcoholism or addiction are often unable to leave such ways behind on their own. However, there is a solution and it requires becoming part of a community of others in recovery. We work together to take the 12-Step program of spiritual action. This course of action is revolutionary in the lives of those who suffer from the disease and when actively participated in, this 12-Step program can bring about freedom and recovery. Those once destroyed by alcoholism and addiction can find themselves living a life beyond their wildest dreams. At Jaywalker Lodge, we believe this recovery is possible for anyone. We are here to help you. Call us now 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.