This Too Shall Pass

this too shall pass

Table of Contents

We’ve all heard the phrase “this too shall pass” — it’s downright ancient. For as long as we can remember, people have been using this little golden phrase to comfort themselves and each other in times of trouble and hardship. It reminds us that the storm raging around us, or inside us, is only temporary. The dark only lasts for one night at a time, then it’s light again. For some enlightened thinkers, the phrase is even something to remember in good times or moments of celebration. Good or bad, it will pass. It all does. But rather than make us sad or upset about the transient nature of life, this phrase reminds us to stay cheerful when things are rough, and to live more fully and be totally present when things are good because it will pass. All we have is now.

The problem comes for us when the “now” is less than ideal. For most people, but especially for alcoholics and addicts, it can be hard dealing with problems. Our disease got us used to one way of handling trouble. Now that we’re in recovery, it can be an adjustment to face and feel troubling times without our crutch of choice. Of course, we become better and better at dealing with life on life’s terms as we work the 12-Step program, and we grow as people with the help of our higher power and our recovery community. There are many healthy ways of coping with hard times, dealing with problems that arise, and learning how to be better throughout it all. Most of these are made available to us as we work the 12-Steps and live the recovery way of life.

But if you’re just starting out on the 12-Steps, brand new to recovery, or maybe just need a little reminder, this too shall pass. This phrase is no substitute for working the 12-Steps and talking with your sponsor, but it can be a helpful little thing to remember in a pinch. So try to keep it in mind as you work the 12-Steps.

This Too Shall Pass

We are repeating ourselves, but it’s on purpose. How often do we get caught up in a moment of chaos or reaction or sudden emotion and lose our grip on reality just like that? We’re conditioned to try to respond or react immediately. When we hurt, we want relief now. When there’s a problem, we want it solved right now.

But life doesn’t work like that. Our thoughts, emotions, reactions, troubles, excitements — all these things come and go. Sometimes many times a day, or even many times an hour, depending on how wound up we are. The point to remember here is that these things come and go. They pass. We can all remember a time in our life when we thought the hard times would never end. But they did, didn’t they? We’re here now. But back in that moment, we knew it would last forever. It didn’t. The next rough patch won’t last forever either.

This Too Shall Pass

They say repetition helps us remember, so it’s worth a shot. Speaking of remembering, when something wonderful happens to us, our first reaction may be “This is so good that I want it to last forever!” Most of us are lucky enough to have at least a few times like that. Something so good happens that we never want to let it go and we never want it to end. This immediately makes us start to fear what might cause it to end. We get scared that it’s going to stop, and pretty soon we’ve done something to mess it all up. We were too busy being scared to enjoy it while we had it.

Here’s another ancient phrase: all good things must end. But you know what? So must all bad things. That’s just the nature of things — they come and go. Perhaps if we remember the temporary nature of our lives, we will be inspired to not try to hold onto the good with desperate greed, but to simply appreciate it more fully and live in the moment. We can give ourselves fully to the good while it’s with us, and don’t let the bad take so much out of us.

Always Try To Remember

There’s a lot of other work that we can do to help us stay in the present, give our best to the people in our lives, and overcome our troubles. Namely, that work is actively participating in the 12-Steps and the recovery way of life. It also can’t hurt to remember that whatever “it” is, this too shall pass. This isn’t just a platitude to cheer us up when things are bad. And it isn’t a fatalistic slogan meant to cheapen our joy and take away the meaning of things. When seen correctly, this truth may bring a tiny bit of joy to the hard times, and it certainly makes the good times that much more beautiful. It is the temporary nature of life itself that makes it so precious. The only moment that counts is right here, right now. The more we remember that, the better off we’ll be.

Nothing lasts forever. What lies beyond, well, we’ll have to wait and see about all that. But right here, right now all we have is the present moment. For alcoholics and addicts, who are often guilt-stricken and haunted by the past, nervous and distracted in the present, and feeling hopeless about the future, learning how to live in the present can be life-changing. As we work the 12-Step program of recovery, we learn how to adjust our outlook and attitude, clean up the past, move on, and make it right as best we can. We learn how to be better every single day, and we begin to view the future with hope and happiness. We also learn how to meditate daily, which helps keep us firmly rooted in the present. For the sake of our recovery, we are taught how to live life one day at a time. If you are ready to learn all these wonderful things, Jaywalker Lodge is here to help you. 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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