Recovery can feel like an impossible obstacle course. After you take four leaps forward, you can feel as though you get knocked six back. Even though it feels like you’ve been forced to move back three spaces at the hands of an unexpected role of the dice, the truth is, everything in recovery is forward motion. Though you’ve been knocked “back”, you’ve really just been knocked “down”, for a bit.
Resilience and recovery go hand in hand. Learning to live life on life’s terms means having to take life as it comes- the good, the bad, the easy, and the difficult. What is most important about learning to live with resiliency in life is getting back up after you’ve been knocked down. For most people, it is all too easy to throw in the towel and stop trying. Somehow, we think this is counterproductive to life. In essence, it is. Unfortunately, when we say “no” and try to make life “stop” we don’t actually achieve any halting of time and space. All we do is spend more of our energy trying to ignore life or control it beyond what it actually is. Addicts and alcoholics have a particular fatality with this kind of thinking. When an addict or alcoholic in recovery try to throw in the towel and stop going with the flow of life, they usually turn back to drugs and alcohol. Problematically, a relapse is rarely a temporary time out from recovery. It can last a decade, or last a lifetime. That lifetime can be long and full of using or short due to overdose and accidental death.
Resiliency is a large part of what gets addicts and alcoholics to recovery to begin with. Most people who develop an abusive relationship with drugs and alcohol turn to such activities as coping behaviors. Unable to meet life on life’s terms due to circumstances out of their control- like abuse, trauma, or untreated co-occurring mental health disorders- they find sanctuary within drugs and alcohol. Resiliency helps train the brain to choose recovery over relapse when the going gets tough. We often say in recovery that “This too shall pass”. It is true to all things: the good will pass, as well will the bad. All things in life are cyclical. Resiliency is the strength we need to manage the ups as well as the downs and accept each phase as it is and as passing.