Our baby steps and little victories are the key to our recovery.
We often want to think about recovery as involving these quantum leaps forward in our ability to cope and function— and, sure, sometimes those big leaps do happen.
But when big leaps in our recovery happen, it’s usually because we’ve set the stage for them with our little, consistent, daily steps.
It’s extremely UNLIKELY we’ll make big leaps in our recovery if we HAVEN’T been taking those baby steps every day.
What do those little, incremental, baby steps in recovery look like?
They’re often a little (or a lot) different than what we assume.
A baby step might look like, going to bed and getting up at consistent times every day.
A baby step might look like, sticking to a schedule— not letting your day be determined by what you do or don’t feel like doing at any given moment.
A baby step might look like, carving out time every day for reading and journaling— even if it’s just a few minutes.
A baby step might look like, doing your internal communication and self-talk exercises every day— even if you don’t want to.
A baby step might look like, curating your social media feed with mutes and blocks, so you’re not exposed to the online presence of people who trigger or otherwise destabilize you.
There are dozens of baby steps that might be applicable to the specific work you’re doing in your therapy or recovery work— but the commonality is that we’re talking things that aren’t overwhelming, and that you can do every day.
Very often we skip the baby steps, ironically because they FEEL too small.
Sometimes we think we don’t have to do that baby step today, because we can just make up for it tomorrow.
The thing is, the entire point of these little incremental steps is to build momentum.
The entire point of having them be NOT overwhelming is to be able to do them regularly, daily, without fail.
A lot of the time, we’re going to have to just do the thing, even if we don’t feel like doing it, even if it doesn’t feel like it’ll make a difference, even if we’re bored or frustrated by the thing.
I can assure you, a LOT of the routines and rituals that make the difference in recovery are boring and kind of frustrating.
We WANT recovery to be this dramatic shift. I would prefer that, anyway. That way my brain would be more interested in it. My brain loves the drama.
But recovery is rarely about drama.
It’s mostly about consistency.
It’s about life becoming LESS dramatic and tumultuous.
If we’re doing recovery right, our lives actually become MORE predictable— and, consequently, more manageable.
When I try to get my brain to follow a routine, my brain often pushes back. It tries to convince me that if I stick to a schedule, if I go to bed early, if I get up at the same time every day, I’m going to become a robot, with no spontaneity or fun or passion in my world.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If we really want a life we can enjoy, if we really want a life that includes adventure and fun and passion, we first have to establish safety and stability.
We don’t want the kind of adventure that arises out of instability and chaos.
Focus in on routines. Focus in on habits. Focus in on rituals. The smaller and more consistent, the better.
The little things we do, over and over and over again, without fail— those really are the big things in our recovery.