A Rushed Recovery
There are few things that impact the sustainability of an individual's recovery program as much as the desire to get it over with. Rushing one's recovery is a sure-fire way to prolong the seemingly endless misery and suffering felt when one is not content. To the early recovery mind, the solution is simple, "Let's get this recovery thing over with so I can get on with enjoying my life." Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Early recovery is plagued with countless uncomfortable experiences, emotions that seem to last forever, gut-wrenching notions to give up and the overwhelming question of "When is this all going to end?" All of this feed into the thoughts of "Let's get this over with." or "If I just get back to my life, things will be different." There exists this belief that a few months of abstinence, possibly a residential treatment stay and a regular meeting regiment is enough to sustain a life of abstinence, regardless of what the world throws at me. It is often the case, that individuals will feel that finding that "special" someone will assist in the long-term success of recovery. Like minds, focused on recovery, looking for the same future is a match made in recovery heaven. Reality paints a much different picture. Recovery is a process, a life-long one at that. Recovery is not a destination but rather a shift in focus. My mentor taught me this valuable lesson early in my recovery. There are very few lessons that have had as much impact on my recovery success. I can acknowledge that early recovery is painfully uncomfortable at times. I can also agree that early recovery is not even enjoyable at times. The thought of, "Is this even worth it?" has crossed my mind at many points in my journey. There is even the odd fleeting thought today, when things get tough, that giving up is still an option. The difference today is that, I know that no emotions last forever and I am blessed with the fact that I have experienced unmeasurable gifts of recovery. In effect, I have put in my time with uncomfortableness, put in the work, sat with my discomfort and reframed my thoughts. Reframed focus is the key to overcoming the urge to rush and end the uncomfortable emotions that are present so often in the first year. Buddha suggests that it is desire and ignorance that are at the root of all suffering. The desire for material things, intimate relationships, social stature and all things that feed ego deliver suffering for much of our time in recovery, if the lack of these things are our primary focus. Ignorance pertains to the idea that we are unable to see the world as it truly is. In effect, we are unable to accept life on life's terms. We feel we are owed something, we have been wronged or betrayed, or perhaps we have a belief that it is up to us to restore justice in the world, in our world. All of these beliefs shift our focus from a place of acceptance and gratitude to a place of suffering. All suffering comes to an end as long as we shift our focus away from that which we feel is the root cause of our suffering. So what is the answer? It is simple in fact. The reframing of one's mind to focus not so much on the uncomfortableness but rather on the blessings. A place of gratitude is scientifically proven to answer the call to ease suffering. By spending time each day focused on that which we have today, that which we are blessed with, takes away from the time spent focused on those uncomfortable emotions that push us to speed up the process of recovery. The sooner we find gratitude in our life, the sooner we truly begin the process of recovery. That's right, I am suggesting that if you are in a place where you feel the need to get your recovery over with, you are not in recovery mode, you are in relapse mode. Shift your focus, put some time into your recovery and when you no longer have a burning desire to move on with your life, you are probably ready to move on with your life.