Here’s the thing about recovery… it’s not what you think. It never ends up being what you imagined it would be like. It’s terrifying and stressful and exhausting and when you hear this you might wonder, then what’s the point?… then why do it? It’s worth it. That’s why. Let me explain.
Currently, I’m in the middle of a move. I finally have a place that I get to call home, which I get to decorate myself and do what I want with. It’s an incredible feeling, and something I never could have accomplished while using drugs or drinking. The thing is, I expected to get a place to live once I got sober. I never expected to get the home of my dreams, though. This home is going to be where I stay for the next 10 years. I’m in love with it. I’m so beyond grateful. I can’t believe it. Because of this, there is a ridiculous amount of work that needs to go into my new place. Currently, I have only two mattresses on the floor and literally zero furniture in here yet, my clothes are all over the floor because I don’t even have enough hangers and everything’s a mess, but it’s so worth it.
I choose one thing to do per day. I called internet the other day and considered that my entire day. I had an exam recently and that was my entire day. I make myself choose one thing per day so that I don’t overwhelm myself… because it’s so easy to end up spiralling because of the pressure of the to-do list. I’ve found what works for me, and yes, normally it works. However, some days I still find myself running low on fuel and motivation. Sometimes I overload myself. And when that happens I take a few days to do what needs to be done, whether that be sleep for two days or cry for two days… I just take those two days for me, and then I get back to my one thing per day.
You’re going to have slip-ups. That’s something that we have to start normalizing… because too often people in recovery have a slip where they drink for a night or maybe they do heroin one time after a certain amount of clean time, and if those around have not normalized slip-ups, this person isn’t going to feel comfortable to admit they even had a slip. And if they won’t admit it, how can they pick up their one day chip again in the rooms and not feel shame surrounding it? I was lucky enough to make it to my year mark slip-free. Not everyone is as lucky as me though. And that’s really what I equate it to. Pure luck. Honestly. I’m here from luck alone. A little bit of luck and a whole lot of willpower.
The thing about recovery is that it’s not a linear path going upwards. There’s going to be ups and downs and they’re going to affect you in ways you can’t even imagine. You might have friends pass away, or even family. You might make it through your father’s death with no relapse only to relapse when your mother dies. It’s totally normal. And the thing about recovery is that they usually don’t tell you that. They don’t tell you that you’re allowed to make mistakes, you’re allowed to fall down. You’ll know you’re getting better when it begins to take you less time to get back up again after you’ve fallen. I think that’s the thing that made it easier for me to get sober this time around. Knowing I have a solid support system behind me so that even if I do make a mistake, they’re not going anywhere.
The thing about recovery is it’s messy. You can’t do everything right all the time, and sometimes we expect that in early recovery. We expect it to be easy. Every day is a challenge, but the blessings that come once you’re on your right path are huge, and it’s worth all the messiness in between.