Navigating Changes in Recovery

navigating change

Table of Contents

Life can sometimes seem static. Maybe we’ve gotten ourselves into a rut. But for the most part, life is an ever-changing thing. It has waves and rhythms, but it’s always moving. It’s a fact of nature — change is the only constant. Things are living and growing, or they are getting stagnant and dying. Perhaps in our active disease, before we found the 12-Steps, we may well have been stagnant and dying. Luckily for alcoholics and addicts like us, now gratefully in recovery, we are on the path of constant growth. Our inner life, spirituality, and recovery must always be worked on and must always be growing to remain vital. That is why working the 12-Steps never ends. The program of recovery grows with us and should always be the focal point of our paths forward in this beautiful life.

Though we always have the program of recovery to guide us, life has its own rhythms, and sometimes we can get diverted from our recovery by our new responsibilities. Indeed, sometimes the 12-Steps can help us live such a full and beautiful life that we lose sight of the very things that gave us this wonderful life. This is a common situation faced by people in recovery. Other times, life can just get so busy that we lose the energy to maintain our efforts in recovery. This can be dangerous. Whatever form it takes, life changes as we grow in recovery. Circumstances change, our passions and activities change, and even we change. We can and should stay mindful of a few things as we navigate the changing tides of our life in recovery.

Don’t Forget What Got Us Here

When life gets so full that we find ourselves almost overwhelmed with the newness and wonder of it all, sometimes we can forget the most important things. We simply lose our attachment to the practices that brought our beautiful life to fruition. Like somebody who goes to the gym every day for years and then suddenly stops going when they get a six-pack, those new muscles won’t stay strong for very long if they stop participating in the disciplines that built them. Our emotional and spiritual muscles work the same way. The 12-Steps are what helped us become a person capable of being a good worker, pursuing our dreams, holding a steady relationship, and being there for our loved ones. Once we have those things in our life, it is dangerous to give up the routines that made us capable of having such a life. We may find our new blessings slipping away as we revert to our old selves or get caught up in selfishness once again. The 12-Steps provide us freedom and recovery from our disease, but this reprieve is given on a daily basis and it’s contingent upon us maintaining and growing our spiritual condition.

We must keep up with the 12-Steps and the lifestyle of recovery, no matter how good our lives become as a result. If we wish to remain spiritually and emotionally fit enough to keep up with our beautiful new lives, we have to maintain our spiritual fitness. If we are given a loving relationship and a career we enjoy and we devote all our time to them, neglecting the program of recovery, we may soon find ourselves unable to live up to our new responsibilities. We risk becoming ungrateful, slipping back into old habits, and potentially even relapse. No matter how good it gets at the end of the day, we will be better off if we don’t lose sight of the practices and habits that allow ourselves and our lives to get better continually.

Remember That Change Is Natural

Change is the only constant. That’s not a played-out phrase —  it’s simply true. We change. Everything changes. The sooner we can make peace with change and stop resisting it, the smoother things will go. Change happens, and acceptance of that fact is necessary. Indeed, if we can accept change, we can stop resisting and start going with the flow of it. Being adaptable is a really beneficial trait to practice. It can help us stay present, clear-minded, and focused on what’s in front of us.

Some ways that we can approach acceptance and adaptability are built right into the 12-Steps. Making prayer and meditation a regular practice can help us improve in these areas tremendously. Staying calm and clear-headed helps us stay in the present and roll with the waves.

Making Adjustments as We Go

So we know that life changes, and we know that we change. How do we really stay on top of all these changes? Our best bet is keeping current with our sponsor and our 12-Step work. Regular inventory and spiritual check-ins will help us stay aware of our changing needs and responsibilities. Some situations may indeed call for us to spend more energy at work or home, while other situations may require us to double up on recovery meetings or seek out service commitments to pull through. Taking honest, thorough, and regular inventory helps us stay aware of what we need to do right now. We only need to deal with 24 hours at a time, so every day we have the opportunity to make little adjustments that will help us be better for those around us. Every day is a new opportunity and a new chance to grow in recovery, love, and service.

Alcoholism and addiction can have many detrimental effects on the lives of those who suffer from this disease. Those afflicted often fall into extreme habits, isolation, erratic behavior, and more. Change, or the hope for change, can seem almost impossible. But there is always hope and even better, there is a solution. The 12-Step program of recovery has dramatically changed the lives of those who undertake the necessary actions. Taking the 12-Steps with someone who has been through them can help alcoholics and addicts who were once hopeless finally find freedom and lasting recovery. This spiritual program of action is designed to address the unique manifestations of the disease of alcoholism and addiction like nothing else can. We once needed and received help ourselves. We know what it’s like to struggle to find recovery. Now we are here to help those who earnestly want it. You can recover. 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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