Everything Is So Different! How Can I Maintain Normalcy in Recovery?


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There’s no doubt that everything seems different, especially these days. It can be hard to find anything that feels like it used to. Not even running errands is the same, and we probably never thought we’d miss a casual trip to the grocery store! Most of us feel a constant longing in the back of our minds for things to “get back to normal,” whatever that may be. We just want regular life back. It’s very human to miss our routines and habits that have been disrupted, stopped, or permanently altered. After all, we are creatures of habit.

Lots of Things Are Different, But Not Everything

It may feel like everything is different, but it would do us some good to look at all this a little more objectively. Yes, more has changed in the last year than in the previous ten, and there’s no mistaking that. But daily, there’s more remaining of everyday life than we may notice. We still get up and make ourselves coffee; we still have our morning prayer and meditation routine. Even if the whole rest of the day is different, some things haven’t changed. Maybe our work situation has changed, and perhaps we can’t see family and friends in the ways we’d like to. But if we keep working the 12-Steps, maybe we can develop some creative solutions or alternative ways to do the things we miss doing.

Yes, lots of things have changed, but not everything. The 12-Step program is still the same. Even if we can only go to meetings online, let’s be thankful that we can still go to meetings — and not having to put on shoes to do it is a plus sometimes! Indeed, a lot of these changes have been dragging on for way too long. Everyone feels it, and we’re all in the same boat. But there are some things we can do to lessen the strain it puts on us.

Is Normalcy the Right Goal?

It can be disruptive and taxing to experience as much change as we all have recently, and it’s normal to desire a return to a more certain and secure lifestyle. When chaos comes into our lives, we long for order. However, when order takes over too much of our lives, sometimes we want to rebel and create a little chaos. Finding balance is best in situations like these.

Certainly, as alcoholics and addicts, there are things we need to abstain from totally, but yearning for too much control over our lives is usually a bad idea. When we try to control people, places, and things, we set ourselves up for resentment and retaliation. Worse, we begin to edge out our higher power, the one thing that should have control over our lives. Bad things happen when we try to play God.

So it’s natural to want normalcy, but is that really what we should be after? We need to examine our lives and be honest with ourselves. Was our old normal the benchmark we want to settle for? If not, then all this change is simply an opportunity to approach our lives in new ways. Sometimes, new is pretty good. Luckily we have the same 12-Steps we’ve always had to help us adapt and improve amid chaos.

If we’re simply waiting for things to return to normal before we get busy living our lives again, we may be setting ourselves up for failure. There may be plenty we can do right here and now to improve our lives and be of service to others. Maybe we can’t go out or attend meetings in person like we used to, but there is a lot we can do. If the old normal isn’t coming back, we don’t need it to survive and thrive in our recovery and service to others. We can do all that stuff with things just as they are. So let’s let our higher power worry about all this normal business — let’s just try to live healthy and happy lives in recovery right here, right now.

Right Here, Right Now

The future is in the hands of our higher power. The past is gone. “Right here, right now” is all we ever have. Today, one day at a time. Even if it’s a super weird day sometimes, it’s the day we’ve got. Gratefully, the 12-Step program gives us a design for living that really works, and it works all the time. Rain or shine, come hell or high water, the 12-Steps can help us stay in recovery and in conscious contact with our higher power.

That’s not so bad, especially when we compare it to life before we found the 12-Steps. Things are pretty rough right now. But every morning and every night, we can follow the directions on pages 85-88 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. We can work the 12-Steps with our sponsor and our higher power. We can attend meetings, even if they’re virtual. We can still be of service to people, even if we have to get creative about how we do it. Normal is nice, but normal is not necessary to be happy, joyous, and free in our recovery.

No bones about it, these are extraordinary times for a host of reasons. As alcoholics and addicts, we may fear that we are more susceptible to the negative impacts of all this change than most people. But if we look closely, the opposite is true. Alcoholics and addicts in recovery are uniquely equipped with spiritual tools from the 12-Steps to handle just about anything life has in store for us. Not only do these tools equip us to maintain our recovery, but they allow us to grow, improve, and help others even amid chaos. Whatever the circumstances may be, the program of recovery does not change, and it can provide us with a solid foundation to build our lives upon, no matter what. Jaywalker Lodge is firmly rooted in the 12-Steps, and we believe they can work for you as they worked for us. We are ready to help. Call us 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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