“I want patience and I want it NOW!” Why is it such a challenge to wait for the process of recovery to occur at its own pace? As active addicts, we were used to controlling and changing the way we feel at a moment’s notice. We could use drugs, alcohol, activity, spending, relationships or any other number of substances and behaviors to alter the way we feel, rather than sit through the process of feeling our feelings and letting things happen naturally. We have been living in an instant-fix mode in active addiction, so it takes a while to get into step with reality and life at life’s own pace.
In early recovery, it is easy to have unrealistic expectations and think that we will have our lives all fixed in a short amount of time now that we are sober. This is not often the case. Getting sober is only the first step in a very long process of growth, healing and change. It goes on and on for years and never stops happening. In the beginning, we feel bad, physically, emotionally and psychologically. This is normal and can last for a while.
As we move through the initial phase of recovery in the first 18 months, called the post-acute withdrawal phase, we slowly heal from the inside. This process requires patience and faith that things will gradually continue to improve if we stay on course with our recovery program. We will gradually feel more balanced and whole.
The next phase of recovery is more emotional and psychological. This middle phase, which can last from two to 10 years, is when we do a lot of work on the underlying causes and conditions that drove our addictions in the first place. During this period therapy can be particularly helpful in complementing our 12-step program work to make progress in our healing journey.
In later recovery, at 10 years and beyond, we move more into the spiritual realm and heal at the soul level. Our recovery moves to deeper and deeper levels as time goes on.
We cannot rush the process any more than we can will our own hair to grow faster. It is our responsibility to stay committed to doing our own recovery work, ride the ups and downs and be patient with the process. We will continue to see progress every step of the way. While it may not happen as quickly as we would like, our lives will continue to manifest more and more abundance, healing and health as we continue along at life’s pace.