Deeply. Fundamentally. In a way that daily rest or self-care doesn’t always, or even usually, touch.
Something I don’t think we talk about often enough in recovery is the exhaustion.
It’s not just physical exhaustion. It’s emotional exhaustion; intellectual exhaustion; even spiritual exhaustion— which can be confusing, when we’re not always clear on who we are or what we’re all about “spiritually.”
All we know is, we’re tired.
Managing our personal recovery takes an awful lot of energy. A lot of bandwidth.
Some of the tasks and skills essential to recovery from depression, trauma, addiction, or an eating disorder involve reining in impulses— NOT doing things that our symptoms and struggles are pushing you to do.
Holding ourselves back from those things can be overwhelming and exhausting— and we don’t often get a break from them.
We are in recovery 24/7. We have to wake up and recommit to recovery every day.
That wears on you after awhile.
Yes, you could make the argument that the exhaustion evoked by recovery tasks is less painful in the big picture than just letting our symptoms and struggles run the show…but that doesn’t change the fact that most of the people reading this are very tired.
We’re tired of having to think the things recovery asks us to think about every day.
We wish we could just take one day off. Hell, one hour off.
Often times our depression, trauma, addiction, or eating disorder whispers in our ear that we “deserve” to take a day off.
My addiction is VERY active in trying to convince me I “deserve” a night of relapsing every now and then, just to, you know, realign my perspective.
When I’m tired and discouraged, that argument makes more sense than it should.
You’ve probably heard it said again and again that recovery is a lifestyle, not an achievement— and it is.
The thing about lifestyles, though, is that they are created by consistency doing something again, and again, and again, and again.
Sometimes when we think about having to stick to the recovery lifestyle for years— let alone the rest of our lives— our exhaustion and disillusionment intensifies even more.
Depression, addiction, trauma, and eating disorders are patient.
They will happily wait for us to get so tired and jaded that we don’t have the energy to outwit or resist them.
You’re not wrong to be tired. I’m tired. Everybody who has ever successfully recovered has experienced the sense of exhaustion that you and I are experiencing right now.
In these moments, how we think about this project of recovery is REAL important.
Don’t think about “the rest of your life.”
Don’t think about having to get up, day after day after day, and recommit yourself to your recovery.
Just think about today. This hour. This minute.
I don’t know how long the rest of my life is even going to be. If I try to think about the rest of my life, it’d be a guess anyway.
I know I have this minute to manage, though.
This minute to get through without using my substance of addiction, engaging in my behaviors of addiction, diving into the self-hate or self-cruelty that my depression or trauma wants me to swim around in.
Whatever happens for the rest of my life is gonna happen. I can’t directly control it from right here, right now, in this minute.
I can, however, manage this minute.
I can control, at least sort of, the pace and depth of my breathing.
I can control, at least a little, what I say to myself and how I say it.
I can control, to a certain extent, what I “see” in my mind’s eye— who I envision, whose voice I hear on purpose, what they are saying.
I don’t control everything in my world, inner or outer.
But I can control what I can control.
i can influence this minute.
I can manage my symptoms and struggles for this sixty seconds.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it might not be.
But I can be exactly as tired as I am— and still stay in recovery right here. Right now.
So I think I will.