How Can I Get Out of This Rut?

stuck in a rut

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It’s common for people from all walks of life to get stuck in a little rut now and then. We all get caught in a slump, a stretch of hard luck, or just plain down in the dumps from time to time. It could be caused by a specific event or circumstance, or it could be caused by nothing at all. Sometimes it just happens. It helps to know that this happens to everybody once in a while. It’s just a normal part of human life. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with us. It may not even mean that we did anything wrong. But as alcoholics and addicts in recovery, there is plenty we can do about it when it happens. Let’s take a closer look at ruts and how we bust out of them.

Am I Depressed?

This is a big question that we have to get out of the way first. There is a huge difference between the standard doldrums that sometimes happen and clinical depression. We need to answer this introspective question honestly and let the truth guide the solutions we seek. It’s very possible and highly common for alcoholics and addicts to suffer from depression. Sometimes the condition heals itself through the process of recovery, but sometimes it does not. This is when we need to ask ourselves: am I depressed?

Ruts and runs of bad luck don’t usually last too long. Depression, however, can last for quite some time. Depression is often caused by nothing at all, although it can also be triggered by something. There are many very fine lines that separate depression from other forms of being sad or bummed out. If we’re having a hard time telling the difference, our best bet is to seek outside help. Going to a therapist or psychologist regularly can help us discover whether we’re suffering from clinical depression or just stuck in a rut.

If it turns out that we do have a mental health condition like depression, we would be wise to continue seeing a therapist and perhaps also seek the medical treatment offered by a psychiatrist. If it turns out that we’re just stuck in a rut, there are lots of helpful tips and tricks we can put into action.

See a Therapist Anyway

That’s right — whether our condition is clinical or temporary, talking with a therapist or psychologist is never a bad idea. People in recovery for alcoholism and addiction, especially men, have a hard time opening up and talking about what’s really going on inside. But the reality is that we need to talk about our thoughts and feelings. Of course, we always have our sponsor and recovery community. But adding therapy to our recovery routine can have incredible benefits, the least of which are feeling better, thinking better, and living freer. No matter how macho we want to be, we need to talk to somebody about our lives.

Shake It Up

If we’re really stuck in a rut, it might be because we’ve gotten too comfortable or complacent. Maybe we really like our routine, but it could be that routine that dug out this little hole we’re stuck in. It might give us a real shot in the arm if we consciously try to stray from our normal routine. Do we always rush home from work to chill out? Maybe we could hit a recovery meeting on the way home instead. Do we always eat dinner in front of the TV? Maybe we could invite a friend over for dinner or go out. Do we always relax at home on the weekends? Maybe we could hit a new recovery meeting and then go to a museum or a movie. Shaking ourselves out of a rut doesn’t have to require a grand gesture. Sometimes all it takes is something small but out of the ordinary. Get creative and try something brand new!

Develop a Brand-New Routine

Maybe we’re in this rough patch because we don’t have a routine at all. Sometimes we just find ourselves in a rut by accident. It’s not always planning to fail — sometimes it’s failing to plan. If that’s the case, it may serve us to try to build a brand-new, healthier routine. We can start taking charge of our day. Wake up, have a cup of coffee, and pray and meditate like the 11th Step tells us to. Hit a meeting on our way to work or on the way home from work. Eat something healthy for dinner and participate in an activity that we enjoy. Making a habit out of fun activities that are also good for us can not only bust us out of a rut, but they can become lifelong healthy habits that pay incredible dividends.

Reach Out

We alcoholics and addicts have an incredible resource in each other. If we’re stuck or feeling down, it’s very likely that our sponsor or our friends in recovery have been in a similar situation before. They can share their experiences with overcoming it, and we can employ their sound advice. If we’re confused about how we got stuck in the first place, they’re also the people who know us best. Working the 12-Step program with them and listening to their insight can help us learn more about ourselves. The people closest to us often see things about us that we can’t see on our own. For these reasons and many more, the resource of fellowship with others in recovery is priceless.

At Jaywalker Lodge, we believe that recovery is about living your best possible life. Recovery is not about punishment for our past lives in alcoholism and addiction — recovery is about the promise of a bright future. Recovery is about learning how to be the person we’ve always wanted to be and about learning how to live a life beyond our wildest dreams. A life that’s full of love, joy, meaning, purpose, abundance, and peace. We are serious about this endeavor, because we know how truly life-changing it can be. It may sound too good to be true, but we have experienced the bounty and beauty of recovery for ourselves and we’re ready to share it with you. If you’re ready and willing to do the work that recovery requires, Jaywalker Lodge is here to get you started off on the right foot. To learn more, 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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