Your Recovery | Why It Is So Important.
When the person you love is the person addicted, why would YOUR recovery be so important? Isn? the primary goal to get them clean, to support them in their recovery, so that you can then enjoy a life with them again?
Your primary goal must be to secure YOUR recovery first so that you can regain the feelings of joy in life again, regardless of what anyone around you is doing.
Perhaps this sounds selfish? Perhaps it sounds unlikely given the situation you are currently in?
But I know it is possible. And I want you to know that too.
We are taught from day one to always think of others first. We are told to share, to let guests go first, don? be selfish, do as I say. It? the way many of us are raised to conform in life.
Whereas, seeking your own recovery is a bit like following the instructions you get from airline crew during the safety messages – If the oxygen masks drop down, be sure to secure your own mask first before assisting others.
If you are anything like me, when you first heard this you immediately questioned the selfishness of such an instruction. Shouldn? you help everyone else first? And die valiantly? What use are you though if you pass out before you can provide assistance to anyone? And aren? most people capable of putting their own masks on, with the exception of the infant and invalid? Even then, you can only save them if you are in a position of safety first.
While recovery is the ultimate outcome that we all want for our addicts, the path to get there, and the early days of recovery are emotionally and mentally tolling. If you love an addict you will have inevitably been affected by their actions and behaviour and the stress of knowing someone you care about is tormented by addiction. Changes will have occurred in your emotional state and as time goes on you may find you have become quite different to the person you were before you faced addiction with your loved one.
The worst thing that can happen, for you and the people that love you, is for the addiction of another to bring you down also, so it is critical to begin your restoration, but this time with reinforcements.
Your personal development, your recovery, is what will allow you to find strength in the challenges of loving an addict, but also in living going forward. It is how you will come to depend on yourself to provide all that you need in life because ultimately, you are the only person who can execute your plans and determine your outcomes. Events in your life will impact on you, but how you let them affect or define you is all down to a personal foundation of strength. You must be your best advocate. You must develop a confidence in you and a trust in yourself to make choices that best establish a positive standard of living.
Then, you are also in a strong enough position to support the recovery of an addict.
With your recovery in hand you can support from a stable foundation, so that you are able to give of yourself, without giving yourself away. I heard it explained once as making sure you have your cup full, with ever constant replenishment coming in (ongoing growth), so that you can share from your cup, but never be emptied.
Self belief will mean you will be able to easily indentify when you are supporting, and when you are enabling. You will know to set clear boundaries about what is and isn? tolerated. And you can do this with the confidence that whatever the reaction or the outcome, you have acted from a place of integrity that supports YOU first and foremost and will honour YOUR recovery.
The empowerment that comes from this is immense. The mental and emotional stress of dealing with a loved one caught up in addiction becomes less overwhelming and a confidence builds that allows you to be so much more than the innocent victim of a loved ones problems.
You will find that you conduct yourself with a sense of freedom and control over your circumstances and this new found fortitude can? help but be noticed by those around you, especially your addict. They will sense something has changed and that you have a new resilience that protects you and won? allow you to be taken advantage of, or brought down by the actions of anyone but yourself.
So what do YOU need today to begin your recovery? What will be your first step towards restoring YOU?
Photo credit: Portland Prevention