We know the sayings, the tales, the Proverbs — slow and steady wins the race, the turtle always beats the hare, and you must be slow to speak and slow to wrath but quick to listen. We know these avenues of wisdom because they contain a truth that has yet to be lost. From generation to generation, there’s always been a saying for the remaining patient in the middle of hard things. There’s something crucial to the practice of not only acknowledging patience but stepping into it.
This “patience” isn’t only referring to the sitting-still-in-the-waiting-room patience, but rather, the patience that comes when you’re putting in the daily effort, the hard grind, just begging to find the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a patience that wears thin because it’s been stretched, tugged, and pulled at its core without any chance of rest.
Does this not-so-fun patience sound familiar? Something you’ve tried? Something you’ve failed? Something that feels like the theme of your recovery process? If you said yes to any of these questions, you aren’t alone. Sure, while you aren’t alone in this uphill sort of battle, that doesn’t make it any easier. However, when you take encouragement from others, when you allow your mind to focus on truths (no matter how repetitive or cheesy they seem), your spirit, emotions, and (eventually) your body will follow suit, giving you a fresh perspective, a glimpse of hope, and the stamina to continue on your recovery journey.
Take a look at these two things to remind yourself (in a fresh sort of way) of when recovery feels like it’ll never end:
#1. Good Things Take Time
Blah, blah, blah — been there, heard that. Right? The butterfly starts as a caterpillar, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so on. Pause for a minute and give yourself the space to dive deep into the core of these sayings, though. What do a small, colorful butterfly and a colossal, intricate Coliseum have in common?
Process. Yes, each required a process to reach an end goal. The thing about processes, though, is that they not only take time, but they also don’t allow you to see the big picture upfront. Instead, you have to constantly remind yourself of what the endgame will be.
Stuck in a claustrophobic cocoon, the caterpillar must have faith that after it’s been cramped up for weeks on end, it’ll be a butterfly. Over and over, it has to paint a picture of its wings in its mind, remembering that the cocoon is somehow worth it.
With no forklift, no crane, nothing outside of hands-to-the-rock machinery, the men building the Coliseum had to create blueprints long before their hands got dirty. Days after the blueprints were finalized, months after the workers suffered from sunburns, cuts, scrapes, backaches, and everything in between, they had to visualize the Coliseum. It had to be a future that lived in the present to keep the men going.
Process. You need the same vision and the same courage to keep that vision day in and day out as you continue your recovery journey.
#2. You Get Out of It What You Put Into It
More than likely, you’ve heard this one after crummy basketball practice, or right when you were on the brink of failing a college class that Mom and Dad paid good money for. You were told that you reap what you sow and that whatever you put into x, y, or z is what you’ll get out.
This is reminiscent of the parable in the New Testament when Jesus was talking about the three different men who were entrusted with money over a certain period of time. Two of the guys took their money and used it to make more money, with one of them doubling his initial balance. The third guy, the last one, was so afraid of losing the one coin that he dug a hole in the ground, buried it deep down, and never touched it again. Moral of the story? He put nothing into increasing his money, so he got nothing out of, well, doing nothing.
The recovery process will likely feel like a lifetime, but just because you are through with the process doesn’t mean that it’s your place to gather up what you’ve learned, mix it in with some impatience, and bury it in the ground.
Rather than burying your progress, this process, alive, perhaps you should bury fear, impatience, and the need to “just be done” instead. While you’re burying the bad stuff, though, be sure to keep the good stuff — the milestones, the hard work, the mini celebrations — as reminders of not only how far you’ve come but how far you’ll continue to go.
Cliches are annoying. The recovery process is hard. Not fun stuff, huh? Yet, if you remember, as well as take captive the powerful truths hidden within these everyday phrases, you might find the power source you’ve needed to hang tight and keep marching on.
It’s not always easy to keep the long-term goals at the forefront of your mind, especially when you’re in the grit and grind of your recovery process. Like all other aspects of the journey (the physical, mental, and emotional), it takes some uphill work and a constant willingness to stay in the fight to see the hope that lies on the other side of putting in the daily work over and over again. However, it’s often easier said than done, and if you’re having trouble seeing the light at the end of the addiction recovery tunnel or need someone to hold you accountable, we are available to connect you with the right people and resources. Healing is hard, but you don’t have to walk through it alone. If you’re struggling with any aspect of addiction, addiction recovery, or reintegration, we can help. To learn more about our assistance, please contact us today at (801) 308-8898.