Being in recovery can feel like a balancing act. Some leave the treatment space and walk back into jobs and their roles in their families and others leave and begin building things anew, from the ground up. No matter what kind of life circumstances you walk out of treatment into, as time continues and responsibilities pile up it can seem impossible to be able to handle it all. It often feels like not only are we struggling to find that balance but that those around us seem to be capable of doing it all. In treatment, we learn that caring for our recovery should come first, but adding in work, school, families, and hobbies can be overwhelming. How do we do it all?
Evaluate Your Expectations
Something we are fortunate to be able to do in recovery is learn about the nature of substance use disorder. This can mean everything from understanding the nature of why we struggled with substance use to more information about the way the disorder can affect thinking. This can be a helpful tool when working through issues that come up after treatment and as we can examine our thoughts and behaviors to see if they may be unrealistic or unmanageable.
A perfectionist lives inside many of us, and we not only find ourselves wanting to do it all but to accomplish it all to an unrealistic level. Balance is hard for any person to find, but it can be especially difficult for those who take on more than they are realistically capable of and hold themselves to an impossible-to-reach standard. Perfection is the impossible standard many of us in recovery are trying to reach, so it is important for us to utilize a support group and a self-care plan when we feel the strain of trying to accomplish too much. Talking about what we’re feeling with others that can lend perspective, prioritizing tasks, and including self-care into our routine are essential in balancing multiple responsibilities in a healthy way.
Those affected by substance use disorder often struggle to see their own value and deal with chronic low self-esteem which can cause us to judge ourselves harshly. As we work through these difficult emotions and feelings about ourselves, it is helpful to seek outside opinions when taking stock of what we’re working on. Seeking advice and counsel from those in your support group, such as a therapist, sponsor, family members, or friends can help you to get a more realistic view of what you are accomplishing. Outside perspectives on ourselves can help adjust thinking. It is sometimes said that the best way to build self-esteem is to do admirable acts, and often those around us can help show us where we have been of service to others.
Avoid Competing and Comparing
Something everyone, not just those in recovery from substance use disorders, struggles with is our tendency to compare ourselves to others. Social media plays a large role in this for many of us, and often those social media snapshots are all we truly see of the lives others are living. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing our own authentic lives to the picturesque views we see of others and find our own to be messy or lacking. It’s important that we remember that most human lives are a beautiful mess and ours are no exception. The competition we create with others based on these limited views only serves to add stress to our daily lives, and typically only comes from within. Taking periodic breaks from social media when you start to feel this way can be a helpful way of removing these stressors from your aim to balance.
Support and Self-Care
It’s important to remember that as life in recovery ebbs and flows, the number of things we have to balance will change. During high-stress times it’s important for those in recovery to practice good habits learned in treatment in order to manage their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Some important self-care items that help practice balance include:
- Prioritizing, not only your tasks but also prioritizing yourself and your recovery first.
- Staying close to your support network, speaking up when you feel overwhelmed.
- Taking care of your health, getting adequate sleeping, eating well, and exercising.
- Connecting spiritually, in whatever practices work best for you.
- Delegating and asking for help, considering what others can assist you with.
- Taking a break when things feel like they are out of control, and taking a step back and giving yourself time to step away.
A life in recovery is often more than we ever dreamed possible. It’s natural to want to take every opportunity given, do it all, and be everything in every area of life. Your goals are important, but so is your health and emotional well-being. Practice patience with yourself and rely on those around you as you aim to balance all the things you care about; take the tools you learned in treatment and give them practical application in life to keep your world happy and whole.
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.