CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — No matter the path we walk in life, crisis eventually finds us. For individuals in recovery, managing setbacks is but one of the vital skill sets of surviving.
A life in substance abuse is that of an agent of crisis, because that lifestyle is a crisis itself. In recovery, however, a crisis is the brutal reminder or trigger of trauma, devastation and failure. A calamity can catapult a strong member of recovery straight back into substance use. Unfortunately, a critical situation can take many shapes: personal, financial, social, romantic and, of course, global.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic all over the world strikes at the very uncertainty and chaos from which individuals are recovering. Without the right kind of foundational recovery gained through residential treatment centers like Lion’s Gate Recovery, individuals could face the idea of relapse again.
Recovery is the very foundation upon which individuals build a new life, and even in the face of crisis, falling back on recovery and treatment fundamentals and using the tools available can be the difference in individual success.
Too often in recovery, we experience the “pink cloud” – or in other words, a false sense of invincibility. Life gets good and now that we are substance-free, what could stop us? Beware the storm that follows the pink cloud. Like anything in life, the weather will change, the season will end and this too shall pass.
The good times we felt would last forever comes to a screeching halt, and our recovery becomes tested like never before. An event such as a devastating personal loss or a global catastrophe will shake that very foundation. Feeling the full brunt force of the emotional toll, there are no substances anymore to dilute the painful experience, and this is why relapse and/or destructive impulsive behavior can all of the sudden seem like a good idea.
As substance users, we used our previous behavior as a way to buffer from discomfort, pain and unpleasant emotions. This is why we must hold strong – hold ourselves accountable to the life of recovery we have chosen. We can never let the agony of our current situation make us forget why we chose recovery in the first place.
We were desperate for a better way of life, and we committed to it. Doing the work in a substance abuse treatment center is only half the battle, applying what we learned in real life is the other half.
Albert Einstein is often cited as saying, “A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for.” Complacency can be the decay that invites disaster into our lives.
As our laziness beckons and efforts are made into concessions, the fortitude of our foundation begins to crack. We are not as vigilant as we once were about all aspects of our lives, including the recovery in which our life rests upon. This is why recovery is constant growth. Like a muscle is overloaded to induce growth, the same is true with our lives.
As we continue to trek toward the challenge and the uphill road, we become stronger as individuals. The foundation of our recovery does not grow stronger for what it is made to prevent but what it is built to withstand. The very weight that grows our resolve is caused by the challenges of life in recovery. If we do not buckle and we bear the uncomfortable nature of growth, we will press on, through recovery and life.
Character is what counts
Recovery is not just about recovering from drugs but recovering from who we used to be: the addict or alcoholic who was driven by impulse and pain. As we grow and recover from who we were, disaster may strike to interrupt our plans. Who will we be in this moment, in the unforgiving split second? Will our foundation in recovery hold? Will the breaking news…break us?
As the pressure intensifies in our life, as the heat turns up, can our foundation of recovery bear the adversity upon us? How will the lessons we learned in day treatment serve us now? The trying times that inevitably come will expose our foundational character. It is the relationship with the person in the mirror that counts now.
In these gut-wrenching moments, we are reminded of the work done on ourselves and what we have endured thus far. Brave the hardship and weather the storm to grow the essence of our recovery.
Written by SHANE P. CURRIN, Lion’s Gate Recovery.
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