That’s how I felt when I walked into the doors of family recovery.
A total freakin’ mess. I mean, I felt really, really broken when I walked into the rooms.
And I felt like all this stuff needed to be fixed, like, yesterday. Like it was a freaking miracle that my life was not already in complete shatters, that I wasn’t already homeless, but it was definitely going to be any minute now if I didn’t get this crap fixed immediately.
When it came to my recovery work, I felt like I needed to do it all. ALL 12 Steps, meetings, talk to my sponsor, service, ALL the literature, prayer and meditation. Immediately. Because if I didn’t, well, like I said, it was all going to hell.
Problem is, it’s not possible to do it all at once. The inner work that needs to happen on this journey can’t be forced, and it never has nor ever will happen on my time or my terms.
Add to that just plain life and it can be a perfect recipe for overwhelm.
And that’s dangerous for me.
Overwhelm is where I’m most at risk of sinking back into self-pity. Into thoughts that this recovery gig might work for you, but I don’t think it’s going to work for me.
It’s the place, for me anyway, where my faith in a loving Higher Power and my willingness to turn my will and my life over really starts to get dicey.
I’ve been in recovery over 14 years now, and I can still go to that place where I feel like I gotta fix ten different issues in my life, TODAY, or it’s all going to hell. Being overwhelmed can still send me back into a self-pity, ‘o-ye-of-little-faith’ danger zone.
So what to do?
Well, I feel like my Higher Power sent me a really powerful tip awhile back, so I’m going to share it with you.
It came from some outside literature. Not at all recovery related, but self-help coaching stuff. In it, the author asked this question: “What’s the one thing you do in whatever you’re endeavoring to do, from which you get the biggest return on your investment?”
I thought about that question with my recovery, and the answer, for me, was journaling, which is my primary form of meditation (my journal entries are actually letters to my Higher Power, who does in fact often talk back when I write.)
Recognizing that was a HUGE gift!
Recognizing that meant that when I felt overwhelmed and really wanted to just say ‘screw it’ to everything, I had another choice.
I could focus on doing my best to make sure I did that one thing which gave me the biggest ROI (return on investment) in my recovery.
And guess what happened when I did that?
Three things: 1) I felt less overwhelmed since I just made my expectations much more realistic; and 2) I was much more likely to do other things that are also important to my recovery; AND 3) I was much more likely to successfully navigate the issues that were creating the overwhelm to begin with.
So here’s my question to you: what in your recovery gives you the biggest ROI? What could you do to support yourself doing that more consistently? Post your answer in the comments. I read every one.
P.S. If you’re new to recovery and don’t know the answer to that yet, don’t worry. Just start paying attention. It’ll become clear before too long.