Amongst those who do escape the perils of addiction, other demons remain. Rarely have I met a person in recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) who did not have a great deal of repressed trauma, a wealth of unresolved grief and loss, and underlying mental illness.
Recovery is a lifelong process designed to promote health, manageability, and sustainability. Yet there are times when we have to do things we’re not ready to do because life circumstances demand it. Like a recovering heroin addict who has to take pain medication following a major surgery or having to take a job that isn’t conducive to your recovery because the bills must be paid.
Seeking safety is a spiritual undertaking. It requires connection and a shift in awareness. Hypervigilance is constantly scanning for threats. Serenity is knowing that either no threat currently exists or that we’re equipped to deal with it if there is one. This is not something we can do alone. We need progressively more safe people and safe places.
There’s a meme to the effect of, “I remind myself that my survival rate of bad days is 100%.” I’ve gotten through the last three hours by saying to myself, “Just do what you can. Just do the next right thing.” This is me officially starting my day over. I’m not going to agonize. I’m not even going to stress. I’m going to practice acceptance while mindful of what my friends in AA say, “You don’t have to like something to accept it.”
One of the things I most often hear from folks I serve is how awkward it is for them to reach out and ask for help. I totally understand that feeling, but I encourage folks to consider that this is the easiest way to stagnate their recovery. To be self-conscious and embarrassed is understandable. We need to be mindful that these experiences are not only common; they’re familiar to the folks we’d reach out to.