There’s nothing wrong with being tired. Of course you’re tired. I’m tired. 

Wrestling with what we wrestle with in recovery is tiring. 

There’s kind of this cultural myth that acknowledging and dealing with emotional or behavioral struggles is somehow “weak” or an “excuse”— but those of us who are in recovery know that it’s EXACTLY the opposite. 

Making recovery from trauma, addiction, depression, or another emotional or behavioral struggle the central project of your life is anything BUT a cop out. 

It’s one of the most courageous— and one of the most stressful— projects possible. 

The “cop out” would be to NOT acknowledge our emotional or behavioral struggles. 

The “cop out” would be to try to IGNORE how those struggles impact our work, our relationships, our ability to create and sustain life worth living. 

I’ve never met anyone who used the fact that they were in trauma or addiction recovery as an “excuse” to NOT live up to their responsibilities. 

I HAVE met PLENTY of people in recovery who struggled with the OPPOSITE problem: they considered EVERYTHING their fault, and EVERYTHING their responsibility. 

Making recovery the cornerstone of our life and decision making is not about avoiding responsibility or making excuses. 

It’s about realistically acknowledging what we’re up against. 

Those of us in recovery don’t get days off. 

We don’t get to decide that today we’re sick of trauma recovery, so we’re just gonna pretend we don’t have to worry about triggers, flashbacks, or abreactions. 

We don’t get to decide that utilizing our coping skills, tools, and philosophies is just too much work, so we’re gonna not do it today, and let the chips fall where they may. 

Those of us in addiction recovery don’t get to decide, you know what, today I’m not gonna bother managing my access or exposure to my substance or behavior of addiction— I’m just gonna go with the flow, see where the day takes me. 

We know all too well what happens when we “go with the flow.” 

I don’t mind admitting that trauma and/or addiction recovery is a MASSIVE pain in the ass. 

I would MUCH rather NOT think about any of it, on any given day. 

I WISH I could trust my nervous system to go on autopilot and allow me to make good, healthy decisions. I WISH I could trust my body and mind to respond to the world and its assorted stressors and triggers like a “normal” person. 

But that wasn’t the hand I was dealt. 

And if you’re reading this, it’s probably not the hand you were dealt, either. 

As I write this, I’m coming off a two week period in which multiple significant stressors came at my face, including a car crash and a change in employment. 

Both situation triggered multiple things for me that are deeply connected to my history of trauma and my vulnerability to addiction. 

One of the thoughts I’ve been struggling with over the last two weeks is that I WISH I could handle these stressors like a “normal” person. 

I WISH that managing these stressors didn’t have to include me checking on my vulnerability to relapse, or my reactivity around relationships. 

But: that’s not the hand I was dealt. 

Life calls on us to be brave. 

The brave thing ISN’T to just “suck it up” and pretend we’re NOT vulnerable. 

The brave thing is to acknowledge our vulnerabilities without pretense or shame. 

There’s nothing wrong with being tired; there’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable; there’s nothing wrong with being hurt. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you, like me, are a combination of all three. 

All we can do is what we can do: manage our vulnerability, manage our risk, manage our emotions and our behavior and our triggers and our resources, one day at a time. 

So let’s do that. 

One thought on ““Brave” is about realistically acknowledging our vulnerabilities.

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