I think sometimes people have the idea that recovery is a straight line angled upward with a positive slope. For me, that is not the case. My recovery is a conglomeration of sine waves, bumps, upward swoops, pot holes, and squiggly lines. Overall, it does have a positive upward slope. In other words, as the promises state, I have more good days than bad. Today, I have many more good days than bad.
But what to do on those bad days? That is the question. How do I navigate recovery when I am in a downward slope, have a roadblock or a pitfall? How do I get through this period of mild depression?
First of all, I remind myself that This too shall pass. It may sound cliché, but it is true! If I am having a difficult day, I do not have to let it become a bad couple of days or a bad week. I do not have to let it go to a moderate or severe depression. Sometimes I can even limit it to bad moments. The point is, this depressing feeling will not last forever. I do have a choice to realize that it is temporary, to do something about it and not let it take over.
So what do I do about it?
The program gives me tools. It’s up to me to use them. Sometimes I have to pray for the willingness to use them. The willingness to help myself undepress myself and stop being a victim. When I’m in a pitfall, I feel alone and isolated. That is my disease talking to me. The reality is that I’m in a program with people who understand me and care about me. I can reach out to them and be honest about how I’m feeling. This simple but sometimes difficult action really does help me a lot. By telling on my feelings, I feel less isolated and more connected to others. Another thing I do is journal to my Higher Power. I tell my Higher Power what I’m thinking and feeling. Sometimes I follow it up with journaling from my Higher Power to me. This is the voice of truth. This helps me to contradict those negative thoughts and see the truth as my Higher Power sees it. When I’m in a slump, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be in a slump and to be kind and loving with myself through this period. I’ve learned that my recovery is not a straight line upwards, and that it’s okay for me to have some squiggly parts and bumps in that recovery journey. I can learn to give myself that same love and compassion that I would give another struggling person. Another tool I like to use is the “way to go self” list. When I’m in a slump, I focus on the negative, specifically those “I’m not good enough” statements. I neglect seeing my positives. So I make a list of my assets or those things that I am doing well, or those things that I am accomplishing. And I’ll give myself double stars for doing something positive when I don’t feel like doing it – because that is extra difficult for me! So by making a point to look at the positive things I am doing, it helps me gain clarity and see the positives.
To sum up, bumps in the road of recovery are part of the process for me today. It doesn’t mean I’m bad or need to shame myself. It means that life happens, and now I have an opportunity to use the tools this program gives me – IF I choose to do so.