When we’re recovering from depression, anxiety, addiction, or trauma, we lose the luxury of not thinking about certain things.
Working a recovery plan MAKES us think about the meaning of life.
Recovery MAKES us think about what we want and value— and what is realistic for our lives.
In recovery, we lose the luxury of just cruising along, unaware of what makes us tick. We HAVE to get into it if we’re going to make headway in our work.
It’s not fair.
I, personally, wish I didn’t have to live a life that was SO damn introspective.
(Maybe I chose the wrong career if an unexamined life was really my goal, but whatcha gonna do.)
Part of what makes therapy and recovery hard specifically is that it forces us to do a lot of deep thinking, deep feeling, and deep soul searching.
Successful recovery requires a LOT of introspection and a LOT of honesty.
It’s a tall intellectual and emotional order.
Really looking at our life, our motives, and our needs, is exhausting.
Being scrupulously honest with ourselves and others every minute of every day, is exhausting.
One of the reasons why some people relapse or give up on their recovery programs is BECAUSE it’s so exhausting.
Most humans develop psychological defenses to keep a little bit of distance between them and the unpleasant truths of being a human.
Defenses like denial or repression are kind of an emotional buffer to make the sharp edges of life a little easier to deal with.
In recovery, we’re asked to give up those defenses— which means we feel life’s sharp edges a lot more painfully and a lot more often.
In order to work a recovery program, we have to decide that it’s worth it to confront everything we’re going to be asked to confront.
We have to be realistic about the fact that some of this is going to be really hard.
We have to understand that realistic recovery means there’s no back door, no half-assed, easy way out.
To succeed in therapy or recovery, we’re really going to have to look at the hard stuff, we’re really going to have to accept that things are exactly as bad as they are, and we’re probably going to have to sacrifice some comforting illusions.
We might think we’re not ready for that.
But, often, it doesn’t matter whether we feel “ready” or not— we have a choice in front of us that has to be made, right here, right now: do I want to get better?
The good news is: many of us are far more capable of doing hard stuff than we think.
Many of us think we can’t handle pressure or pain— when the truth is, we’ve been handling pressure and pain for decades.
It just hasn’t been pressure or pain that has served any productive purpose, or that we chose.
Yes, therapy and recovery are often hard. But this time, pain has a purpose.
The pain of recovery makes sense. It has a goal.
And in recovery, you’re not alone in your pain.
You’re choosing to take on something that other enormously brave people also take on, every day.
But it’s true: when we choose recovery, we’re choosing the hard road. We’re giving up the luxury of not thinking, not feeling, not caring.
And it’s worth it.
Those “luxuries” are dead ends.
As it turns out: the questions we confront in recovery are the questions that create a meaningful life.
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