Conventional recovery wisdom holds that you should avoid making substantial changes in the first year of sobriety. While this is an excellent consideration, life still happens around us. In recovery, we learn that our desire to control our surroundings creates frustration and resentment. To stay sober, we must learn to navigate both of these principles at once. Some decisions we will be at liberty to hold at bay, and on the other side of that, we can focus on making sure we are equipped to deal with things beyond our control. We have been gifted a set of tools that serve to enrich our lives if we practice them. As life unexpectedly changes, we can avoid potential relapse and experience growth.
Let Go of “Expecting the Unexpected”
Those of us who have been challenged with substance use disorder or a mental health diagnosis are often chronic overthinkers. We like to take an idea or a problem and think our way through all of the possible outcomes. We take plenty of time to consider how we feel about each possibility and even assume the responses of others involved. We think ourselves into depression, anxiety, and substance use before stressful events even come to pass. Consider the tools you’ve gained that can halt this process. Vulnerability and opening up to a trusted friend can be a great way to get outside feedback on our thought process. Journaling can be useful as we get the thoughts out of our heads and onto paper. Meditation quiets the mind and relaxes our body.
There’s no way you can predict how much one event or another will emotionally impact you. Therefore, there is no real guideline of things to avoid. Some things might seem obviously problematic. Things like quitting a job, starting a new relationship, or moving is challenging for almost everybody. On the other hand, every situation is unique, and we can’t avoid every challenging situation. Fear has run our lives for many years, and it doesn’t create conditions for growth. Let go of trying to predict the future and start caring for yourself and your recovery first. With practice, you can ensure that whatever life brings, you can navigate it with grace.
How Do I Know If a Change Is Right for Me?
With sobriety, we begin to regain our ability to trust ourselves. Learning to listen to yourself and your instincts is a lifelong process. This is why a trusted support system is so valuable in recovery. Ending a long-term relationship is one change that a newly sober person might be advised against. The emotional distress of a breakup can be challenging to cope with, and the process of separating two interwoven lives creates stress. If the relationship itself is harmful, however, it could cause more harm than good to delay a decision. A support group, along with professional help if needed, can help untangle the complicated thoughts surrounding this issue. They will also be essential in carrying out decisions that you’ve made. Your support group will allow you to grow in vulnerability and trust. This is simply one example of any number of situations that could arise in recovery. We might hope to stay rooted in place and become comfortable again in our surroundings. However, if a job opportunity in another city presents itself, we could be doing ourselves a disservice by dismissing it. Seek the guidance of those around you and practice self-honesty as you are given new experiences and grow.
As Free As You Want To Be
It’s essential to keep in mind that freedom is a true gift of recovery. We experience freedom from fear, other people, and life itself. We learn to trust those around us and ourselves, and we begin to feel worthy of the life we want. While we should consider decisions and remain devoted to our principles, we should not live in fear of where life will take us. You cannot anticipate and plan for joy and suffering. Still, you can learn how to navigate them without substances to numb your experience.
You have a support system to seek guidance from. There are actions you can take to care for your mental health. You have daily practices like gratitude and meditation or even prayer, to use in times of uncertainty. Lean into your recovery program and the connections you’ve made when life brings the unexpected to your door. Trust your growing intuition and choose the kind of life you want going forward.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.