Recovery is not boring, but maybe, you are…


boringOne of the last things I did online the other night was type up a response to some girl’s venting post on the LAA site that basically said, “I want to go back to my PoA because that relationship was filled with passion, and recovery is boring.”

It drives me batty when people say “Recovery is boring.” It’s a cop out. And it’s spoken as a last ditch effort to hang on to the addiction and convince yourself that all that “passion” (aka: chaos) was real and better than the loneliness the person is feeling currently.

I think too that most people confuse long-term successful recovery with withdrawal or early recovery. Early recovery is not pretty. It’s usually inundated with a lot of fear, pain, loneliness, reckoning, confusion, awkwardness and instability. It’s a time when “NC” (no contact) seems more like a loss than a gain. And it’s a time when you grapple with your own person for the first time and realize how very little you invested in yourself all these years, in exchange for the amount of time and effort you devoted to your drug. Looking at yourself in the mirror with a clear head for the first time in years, if ever, is insanely scary. It’s disturbing. It’s shocking. And when that happens, most people would prefer to crawl back into the hole they crawled out of, or bury their head in the sand, back into their addiction.

Early recovery is a precipice. You are literally on the brink of moving forward, teetering on the precipice, or turning back. That’s a very complicated and confusing place to be and it’s very easy to assume that that place is all there is, the final frontier. Well, it’s not. And here’s why…..you haven’t done any of the work of recovery yet! Some haven’t even taken a class. Love addiction 101. You’ve merely showed up. And showing up, while part of the process, doesn’t usually impart upon you any magical sense of accomplishment. Until you actually do the work. And even then you’re in for a rough ride.What I mean is, don’t put your life into compartments like that. Life after addiction does not mean that you’re sitting around alone and lonely without a PoA who, at least spent time with you some of the time. Giving up the PoA doesn’t simply mean the absence of a PoA. It means embracing and making peace with a whole new way of living, without dependency and obsession.

Anyway…

Here’s a quick list of helpful tips to get you through early recovery. But remember, early recovery is NOT the end result. It’s NOT even a good example of your new life. It’s the difficult phase of getting from addiction to REAL recovery:

1. Be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither were you.
2. Imagine the cycle of one year and all that the earth accomplishes in that time. From the dying in the fall, to the harsh, cold standstill of winter, which, without out would not bring forth the birth of the spring and the maturity and abundant life of the summer. You too need your (symbolic) fall, your quiet, cold, seemingly empty winter, so that you can have your awakening in the spring.
3. If your recovery is “boring” then you are boring. Recovery isn’t a separate entity outside yourself. It’s not like a party you attend. It’s not a state of nirvana either. It’s progress, and right now, in early recovery, you’re not at the fancy cocktail party part of recovery. You’re at the up late, work hard, study for your brain surgeon’s exam part of recovery. This is the hard work that comes before you can reap the rewards of success. And honestly, if you are that bored with life, that’s part of your problem. The addictive personality has loads of trouble finding fun and excitement in the world. Why? Because we’ve focused so long on our drug of choice, we have closed down our ability to to find joy in anyhitng outside that which we are addicted to. If you feel as though you are stuck here, it’s time to focus your attention on self-help books that guide you to enjoy life more. What worked for me was taking action with something I kind of liked (road cycling). My normal habit was to quit after the first or second try, but during recovery, I forced myself to do it every day. After months, it became a great joy to me. But I worked for that joy. It did not just show up at my doorstep.
4. You’re learning to manage your life better. Period. Recovery, doesn’t of its own volition, take care of you. It is the act of you taking care of you and you learning how to do that. And whatever tools you pick up, or however many lessons you learn and thus apply is what determines the look and feel of your recovery. If it leads you to climb mountains, become the CEO of your own company, or create in you the peace of enjoying a quiet, simply home life, then so be it. Your recovery is personal.
5. Take heart. This too shall pass. Early recovery is a phase. Just a phase. Like being being a toddler. Or a teen. You don’t stay there forever! You move on (if you are willing). Try to recognize that this less that ideal place you’re in right now is only temporary.

9 thoughts on “Recovery is not boring, but maybe, you are…

  1. This is awesome! I guess I am pretty boring when I’m not getting drunk or being in a (dramatic) relationship. Clearly I do need to get some hobbies! Deep down, I know this…your post is what I feel intuitively about my recovery. Thank you so much, June, for always saying what needs to be said.

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  2. June, I truly love your blog and I think there is a lot of wisdom in your articles. However, sometimes I think the tough love approach in your articles can cross the line into demeaning (not on purpose of course). I DO like the heart of what you are saying, but I am not sure if calling people boring or condescendingly telling them failing is easy is the right way to go. Just my two cents, I hope you can see it as constructive criticism. Thanks for all that you do.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Brittany. It’s all good. This approach works for some, and not for others. Honestly, when I write these blogs, I have me in mind, and what worked for me. Getting to where I am now was not easy at all. I basically needed to be hit over the head with a frying pan. 🙂

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  3. Hmm, it’s interesting that you deleted my comment on the “You’re Boring” post, and never responded.  I am curious as to why?  I didn’t say anything mean spirited, only offered a constructive criticism. 

      Brittany  

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    1. Hi Brittany. Your comments were never deleted. I moderate comments, which means that they do not automatically post unless I approve them. I just haven’t been on my blog for a couple days! 🙂 Your comment should be there now!

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      1. Thank you for your response June. I apologize for the multiple posts following my comment, I thought they were emails, didn’t realize they would be posted. And yes I agree, I too need to be hit over the head with a frying pan sometimes.

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  4. I also just want to clarify that there was another Brittany on the love addiction forum that was posting obsessively, and that is not me LOL. Different Brittany here 🙂

      Brittany  

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