Sometimes recovery asks us to essentially build a new life.
To be, essentially, an entirely new person.
That’s a tall order. It’s one of the reasons why a lot of people get so intimidated at the prospect of recovery.
We don’t know if we can build a new life. And we’re not at all sure we can be a new person.
What would that even look like?
Sometimes we try to compromise. We think, you know what, even if some of the people and stations in my current life contributed significantly to my depression, addiction, or trauma, I think I can swing still being involved with them or having them in my life. I’ll figure it out!
…and then we get frustrated when we get sucked back into our old patterns.
Let me spoil neuropsychology for you: our brains REALLY, REALLY like established patterns.
When given the choice, our brains will ALWAYS prefer old patterns to new, unfamiliar, unpracticed ones.
I WISH we could build a recovery, and still keep certain people and situations in our lives. But we can’t.
But, you might be thinking, I know someone who DID that! They just MODERATED their use of a substance; they just CHANGED their relationship with their family member; they just SET SOME LIMITS with their coworkers.
Good for them. They’re not you.
We don’t know what we don’t know about other peoples’ situations or struggles.
Don’t guesstimate what you can handle or what’s right for you, based on what you see of others’ journey.
The truth is, sometimes entire relationships have to go.
Sometimes entire work situations aren’t tenable.
Sometimes the only contact we can handle, is no contact.
Sometimes a substance or behavior can’t be part of our life, in any way.
We are talking loss here, and our brain doesn’t like to process loss. We will tell ourselves almost anything to avoid losing things, people, or situations that we’re used to. We will lie to ourselves all day long to avoid certain kinds of loss.
But we’re not just talking loss. We’re talking, specifically, sacrifice.
Giving something up to gain something.
Your recovery from depression, addiction, or trauma, is really, really important. Your life and functioning matters.
You, as a person, matter. It’s not just a bullsh*t psychology meme. I am writing this because I believe that you, the human being reading this, make a difference in the world, and I want you to feel good and function well.
Our recovery is important enough that it warrants certain sacrifices.
Even some big sacrifices.
I hear you. Building or rebuilding something, sometimes from scratch, is often scary and overwhelming and unfamiliar and it can really, really make us feel helpless and hopeless.
But people do it.
People choose recovery.
They choose sacrifice.
They build something different. Something sustainable. They build a life worth living, even from the ashes and rubble of what was their life.
The people who do this are not superhuman.
They’re just like you.
You can do this.
Do the hard thing. Stay in the game. Build something new.
Then come find me, and tell me about it.