Thoughts as We Focus on Recovery in 2018
Recovery from addiction is not always easy. It’s not meant to be easy. But seeing that light at the end of the tunnel means the world to me. As long as I keep pushing towards that light, I trust that God is leading me on the right path. If I get knocked down, I dust myself off, pick myself up and continue down my path. During these challenging times, I remind myself that what’s most important is how I respond to challenges in life, not those obstacles themselves. That may be a saying that’s often repeated, but it really does have a lot of truth to it.
That doesn’t mean that I’m just going to give in time and again as I focus on my recovery from addiction in 2018, knowing that I can simply pick myself up each time. I still want to reduce how often I’m knocked down although this can be so difficult sometimes. Even something as simple as driving by a place I used to hang out at a lot can do it. So can television ads. All sorts of triggers can bring these memories flooding back, and those cravings return. When I allow it, they can overwhelm me like a pot of water boiling over, and that’s all I can think about.
Fortunately, I’ve learned a mental trick that has started to help me more times than not. I allow those thoughts to flow through my brain. In other words, I don’t fight them. Obsessing over these images and emotions only cause them to gain even more of a stranglehold on my thought process. It’s like when you squeeze sand in an attempt to control it; it starts spilling out. Or if you try not to think about something; then that’s all you can think of. I also do my best to gradually replace those thoughts. How about that big game on Sunday? Who will be starting at quarterback? Go on a walk, even if it’s snowing out. In fact, this last option may be the best one as it changes my surroundings and puts me in a brand new environment, an act that will take me away from whatever triggered those thoughts in the first place.
It’s important to not fight it when addiction thoughts return. Let them go in and out of my head and then focus on what I do want to focus on.
Of course, this is a process that falls into the category of “easier said than done.” It may sound so easy to do, but I understand that if you could have just snapped your fingers and your cravings would be gone, you would have done that a long time ago. I sure would have. Focus on small steps and simply keeping yourself pushing forward. Don’t beat yourself up over any relapses. Take a deep breath and trust that you are headed towards recovery, even if it may not seem like it at times.
As we start 2018, New Year’s resolutions come to mind. I’m not going to make any. There’s nothing special about Jan. 1 that really differs it from Apr. 11, July 23 or Oct. 3. Of course, if making them will help you recover, go for it. Who I am to say what will or won’t work for you? But I believe that people are sometimes reluctant to make resolutions at other times of the year. If it’s March 8 when you’re reading this, feel free to make a March 8 resolution. Do you want to start training for a 5K? How about taking yoga classes? Getting a massage? Going on a trip, even if it’s just to the next town over? Reading that book that you hadn’t gotten around to? Going to church more often or praying more on your own? Go for it, whether it’s Jan. 1 or Sept. 29.
Regardless of what your exact path to recovery in 2018 ends up being, trust that you are on the right one. Have faith in God and know that He wants the best for you and is pushing you towards that. You just need to listen and trust. Also make sure to enjoy the little things in life that you experience along your path. In other words, stop and smell the roses. Don’t obsess over the end result of recovery. Enjoy the small victories that you make on the way. Of course, all of us do have really tough experiences from time to time, but there are good moments too. Enjoy those moments and share them with others.