Iv’e been in recovery some time now, I can’t have a bad day right? Sound like a familiar thought? Bad days happen, shit happens.
Today, I was caught off guard. So I wanted to share for anyone else who had found themselves, feeling they “should be further than they are in recovery or should not have a bad day”
It was at a colleague’s farewell lunch which was a buffet to celebrate and wish her well.
But as I sat amongst my peers, the familiar thoughts and noise returned to, how am I back here again? How can it be so hard to put a piece of damn food in my mouth.
Panic swept over me, as the noise got louder and louder. The harder it became for me to pick up the single piece of sushi I had put in front of myself. Why couldn’t I just eat? “Seriously are we really back here after all this time? You should not be finding it this hard.”
Willing myself to pick it up and take a freaking bite. It became a battle. A battle I was all too familiar with but had felt very distant. I had almost forgotten what this absolute feeling of being overwhelmed and petrified of food was like. It was a battle.
The thoughts, “how are you suddenly paralyzed by a simple buffet? You look crazy, people are going to notice, you can’t eat that now it will look even weirder, pick something up, hide something”. JUST NOISE.
Everyone else had finished.
I realized if I was going to win this battle I needed to find and-listen to my healthy voice, the kind voice that was thinking about our future, where my life won’t be defined by moments like these, but what I will gain from listening to this voice. Not this “HH”.
Through the time in recovery, my voice is much stronger now than the noise of “HH” and can be found if I listen.
Another thing that has helped me move through today has been, accepting ok, I’m here today. It’s not where I want to be but it’s not where I was either. Before that I was criticizing myself for having “a moment of weakness”, feeling overwhelmed, but I realised, that’s not helpful or what got me moving forward and in tune with my healthy voice. This has taken practice and perseverance but it’s why I am here, now.
Finally, as we were clearing up I took some deep soothing breaths and I shoved the piece of sushi into my mouth. I picked up another piece and I repeated.
Beating myself up blaming myself for “not being further than I should” in recovery, is not serving my recovery. Some of life’s greatest lessons come from experiences and slips like this. So I am grateful for constant learning and growth.
Struggling is a standard part of recovery. I felt crushed when I was in that moment, it felt too acute and raw. I was terrified I was back to square one. Experiencing challenging moments doesn’t mean my recovery is “failing”. When we look past a particularly difficult experience, we can see actually how far we have come. We tend to focus on the negatives, what we do “wrong” and often get swept away in our unrealistic expectations. But if we take a step back and show ourselves kindness there’s something positive to be taken from every experience good or bad.
I have felt like I have been running along, but when we are running we often trip/ stumble at some point and that is normal. Recovery is no different.
I am grateful for this reminder how far I have come, but also that recovery really is a process of ups and downs.
So for anyone feeling they are failing at recovery for having a bad day, or should be further along, give yourself a break and see how far you have come. It’s ok to not be where you want to be yet.
Not playing the blame game is a game changer.
It’s been a shit day. I haven’t failed because tomorrow I get back up and carry on with recovery having gotten through a bad day, that much stronger.