Dealing With Frustration


Table of Contents

Recovery is obviously a true blessing in our lives. For alcoholics and addicts, recovery is among the greatest gifts we could ever receive. Working the Twelve Steps changes nearly every part of our lives, and it often changes us in ways that make us much happier and more peaceful. However, life is still life, even in recovery. Not every day is sunshine and rainbows, though admittedly the sun shines a lot brighter and more often in recovery. But we will still face troubling times on occasion, and we will still have to deal with negative emotions. Luckily, recovery offers us many helpful ways to weather such storms of life.

Life does not stop being life in recovery. It is still subject to ups and downs, hard times and good times, tragedy and euphoria. What recovery does is help us navigate the inevitabilities of life with peace, calm, and clear direction. So it is not shocking, abnormal, or wrong to sometimes feel frustrated, angry, or confused. These things happen in any and every person’s life — they just do. But whether we’re frustrated by one particular circumstance or we’ve been in a rut for some time, there is plenty in the program of recovery that we can utilize to break our frustration or see through it more clearly. It’s normal to feel frustrated sometimes. What matters is that we learn how to handle such things without jeopardizing our recovery or hurting anyone in the process.

Accepting Life on Life’s Terms

This piece of wisdom comes from the recovery literature as well as meetings. Accepting life on life’s terms means that we understand, accept, and embrace all that is life. Life has good times and bad, victories and setbacks, tragedy and joy. Life has its own rhythm and its own mystery. The less we fight it, the better off we’ll be. Not only because we’ll stop wasting energy resisting the irresistible, but because we’ll learn how to flow with life. Rolling with the punches is way better than getting knocked out. We can all agree on that.

So, how do we accept life on life’s terms? A lot of it is practice, and a lot more of it is learning how to rely on a higher power — any higher power. And all we need to do this is to acknowledge that we ourselves are not the highest power in the universe. Once we accept that fact, we can leave a lot of things up to life as we work the Twelve Steps and find happiness, progress, and peace.

Getting Quiet

Meditation is an often overlooked part of the 11th Step, but it’s still part of it. If we aren’t at least trying to practice meditation, then we aren’t really working the 11th Step as outlined in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, plain and simple. Now that we’ve got that little reminder out of the way, let’s examine why meditation is so helpful when dealing with frustration.

Meditation gives us an opportunity to step outside of ourselves and away from our problems. It gives us quiet time to recollect ourselves, find some peace, and listen to our higher power. This alone is quite enough to make meditation valuable, but it does so much more for us. Meditation helps us improve on every level: mentally, physically, and spiritually. It helps with anger, depression, and confusion. It even boosts our immune system!

If we’re really stressed out, meditation and prayer are always a good idea. But we get the most benefit from meditation when we practice it regularly. If we train ourselves to meditate every single day, even in the good times, then we’ll be that much more calm and peaceful when we hit a bump in the road of life. Being on top of our meditation game means peace and clarity will be that much easier to achieve, even in troubling times.

Learning To Let Go

No doubt about it, this one can be tough. Most alcoholics and addicts have a real difficulty learning to let go, especially when it comes to “letting go and letting God.” This means that we trust our higher power to take care of our lives, while we busy ourselves working the 12-Step program and being of service to others. This mode of operation takes practice, but it should be exactly what we’re aiming for. Our higher power takes care of our life — all we have to do is work the Twelve Steps and help other people. Seems simple, but it can get complicated. If we focus on accepting life on life’s terms and getting quiet while working the Twelve Steps and being of service, we naturally get better at letting go.

Stay the Course

We don’t mean to stay the course in terms of doing things that continue to frustrate you. We mean to stay the course in terms of working the Twelve Steps and practicing the suggestions above. It often takes persistence to achieve clarity or freedom from a frustrating event or time period. Sometimes we risk greater catastrophe if we lash out or act out in response to a temporary circumstance. Keeping things steady by working the Twelve Steps, being of service, meditating, practicing acceptance, and letting go can help us maintain some semblance of routine and a clear path forward in times that may otherwise be clouded by frustration.

Jaywalker Lodge believes that for alcoholics and addicts, the 12-Step program of recovery is the basis for solutions to all our problems, especially our drug and alcohol problems. The 12-Step program is designed to produce the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience that bring about freedom and recovery from alcoholism and addiction. Going beyond that, the 12-Step program can help us improve and grow in every single area of our lives. Of course, we will still need to seek professional help for our mental health. We will still need to exercise and eat well for our physical health. We may wish to visit institutions to nurture our spiritual health. But the Twelve Steps can and do work alongside these other methods to increase our growth, our happiness, and our potential for lasting recovery. If you are ready to put this solution to work in your life, call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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