Can I Stop Working on Me, Yet?
People often become complacent or self-satisfied when they have accomplished a part of the whole. It's rather like someone saying they want to eat some cake for dessert and then stopping with only the eggs and flour in the bowl, and saying, "Look, I'm making a cake. I think I'll take a break."
No, you are not going to get a cake until you mix the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, and spices in a bowl, grease and flour a cake pan, pour the batter into the cake pan, and put it into the preheated oven. Then you can take it out, let it cool, on a rack, and ice if you choose.
Then you have a cake.
Or you notice that grinding noise when you apply the brakes to the car, and you decide that you are smart enough to change your brake pads; how hard can it be? You get the car jacked up, the lug nuts loosened; then you find the slider bolts and expose the caliper... so far so good.
Now that annoying bolt will not come out, the caliper will not pivot up and you have a mess. However, you were sure you could fix your brakes cheaper than taking it to someone and paying them because you believed that you understood the conversation in the parking lot about brake pads.
Complacent In Your Recovery?
Complacency because you are not using at 90 days, six months, or 1 year is premature. While, not using is one of the more difficult components in recovery, it is not the only one. You have simply accomplished not using. It is only the beginning; the eggs in the bowl, or the car jacked up.
Have you gotten complacent in your recovery?
You Cannot Rest on Your Laurels – Addiction Doesn’t
Resting on your laurels or accomplishments before fulfilling all the requirements is similar. Deciding that you know enough about any particular subject before investigation of all its parts is both arrogant and foolish and in many cases involving addiction, becomes the dangerous side of complacency because people quit learning more about recovery.
- Without the knowledge of many of your character defects and the potential harm you will experience because you still operate from them, you set yourself up for disappointment from friends and family, if not a chemical relapse.
- Without knowledge and understanding of your past life, you set yourself up to repeat the same self-defeating patterns and experience the same results. There is a difference, and that is that this time, you were not using, thus you do not have that excuse for the outcomes.
- Without knowledge and understanding of goals and sub-goals, you set yourself up to just keep wishing that things were different.
Continuing the Exploration of Self
Recovery is the diligent, continued exploration of self, changing and growing in awareness. Did you use halfway? Did you only load the syringe but not use it? Did you only load the pipe but not smoke it? Did you only get the prescription filled but not take any? Did the bottle get dusty sitting unopened on the shelf?
If you are like most addicts and alcoholics, then you probably used all that was available and wanted more. Still, many people will only explore and change a small percentage of what is necessary to recover fully.
Have you had to recommit to your recovery?
Recommit to the Process of Recovery
There are simply times that everyone in recovery has to recommit to the process of recovery. Learn to view times of slow growth or seemingly no growth as lulls. During these lulls, you are more emotionally steady, and probably sleep better without the dramatic calls in the middle of the night. Or when you finally experience some serenity in your life.
I have one friend, with double-digit years, who refers to these times as mini-vacations, where the work done in recovery is not as difficult.
Approaching lulls this way can mean that you get ready for the next adventure, setback, or life. You experience gratitude for the peaceful time, but understand that life and your recovery are subject to change.
Life is Not Static, Neither is Recovery
Just as life is not fixed, neither is recovery. There will be times of furious activity and periods of little movement; that is life, and that is recovery.
If you find that you are wondering if you can stop working on yourself now, ask yourself if what you might be getting out of your recovery is less than it could be. Is some of your complacency because you have too much time on your hands?
“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen only a fraction of; probably due to your use. Even the inside of your mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.” ― Louis C.K.
Rather than be bored, go to a meeting early, make the coffee, or better yet, finish that cake and take it with you. Let some newcomers see a peaceful person or become grateful that your life is now orderly, structured, and predictable.
The other drawback, to becoming complacent in your recovery, is that you might make the mistake of labeling lulls as a tedious time, start looking for some excitement, and find yourself relapsing.
© 2013 Marilyn L Davis