The goal of recovery should be to build enough confidence and trust in yourself that living a free and balanced lifestyle becomes second nature. Take full advantage of living in the moment, but realize that recovery has given you an opportunity to have a better tomorrow too. If we take the “one day at a time” mantra too literally as we progress through recovery, we will get stuck in a cycle of comfort without growth. It’s true that tomorrow is never guaranteed but we experience a lot of tomorrows during our life. Like everything, there is a fine balance between living in the moment and positioning yourself for a better tomorrow.
The one day at a time mantra is fantastic in early recovery, but at what point do we gain that trust in ourselves that we’ll be okay tomorrow too? Are we supposed to just get through each day as it comes? Or, can we eventually heal to the point that we can plan ahead in our lives and fully allow ourselves to pursue our dreams and passions? I’m not saying that living one day at a time shouldn’t be a focus. I’m saying that, as we grow in recovery, we need to live for the future as well. The future that we have worked so hard for in our recovery.
I see a lot of people in long-term recovery saying they do it one day at a time. That’s great for not drinking or using or whatever your addiction was, but are you allowing yourself to actually live and build a better tomorrow? I want this to be a wake-up call to those who have some stabilization in their recovery to dream and plan for the future. Recovery is a process of growth. It is totally okay to outgrow the tools that you used in early recovery. We adapt and learn new ones. We all know that recovery isn’t a linear process. Everyone is different and the process is different for everyone. It is up to each individual to decide where they are at in the process and what they have outgrown. It is up to each individual to discover new tools and to evolve as they move along in the process. Trust yourself. If you’ve built a solid foundation for your recovery, build upon it as you proceed into long-term recovery.
At some point, you have to tell those fears and insecurities to fuck off. I’m nearly two years into the recovery process and I still find a lot of self-doubt creeping into my thinking. But the reality is that I have worked my ass off to get to this point and I know what I’m doing now. I gotta say “fuck off” to the self-doubt and trust the work that I have done. My therapist has been giving me a subtle nudge out of the nest by suggesting that my next appointment be a little longer out each time. When my case manager left the company back in June, we decided that I would try going without case management. While a little tough in the beginning, it has worked out just fine. Now, with my therapy sessions becoming once per month, I am learning to trust myself more and more in my recovery. The truth is, I know what to do now. When I get in an uncomfortable spot in my recovery, I have the experience and knowledge to know how to fix it. My safety net can become smaller. With that, I now have more time on my hands. This is where I need to pick up the slack and grow. I can take on a new creative interest. I’m beginning to think that I’m about ready to start dating again. I’m putting the fear of growth in the backseat and letting optimism move to the front.
One of the things that I love about SMART Recovery is that there are an array of tools that you can use at each stage in the process. The tools are designed to be easy to use but have been scientifically-proven to be effective. It’s very conducive to the process of growth that you experience in recovery. It has made me realize the areas that I need to improve in my life. I am at the stage where I can focus more on living a balanced lifestyle that will sustain me through long-term recovery. I am at a point where I need to examine my Vitally Absorbing Creative Interests (VACI – a fancy name for personal hobby or skill) and let my creative side fill the gaps left from not being in therapy and case management any longer. I have achieved a lot of small victories in my recovery and I now trust myself enough to take on longer-term projects. It all ties together. Where I felt that I had reached a peak in recovery and felt stagnant in life has become a plateau where I can keep growing and looking beyond just today. It’s a shift in mindset that I have determined to make and to put action to.
Have you reached a point in your recovery where you feel like growth is needed beyond just recovery tools? What changes have you made to move forward? How did you get over the fear of change? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And, as always, be sure to like, share, and follow my social media accounts. Plus, be sure to subscribe to my e-mail list for updates and some exciting new features that are coming soon!