Growing Up in Recovery
I always think this is the most exciting part. The tearing down what’s outlived its time so you can begin to build up again. ~ J.D. Robb in Concealed in Death
There is an adage in recovery that emotional and social maturation stops when the disease of addiction takes over our lives. (If anyone has a source for scientific proof of this nugget, please send it to me!).
If that’s the case, when I entered recovery at 30, I had the emotional spark plugs of a 15-year-old since that’s when I experienced my first alcoholic blackout.
Trust me when I tell you that my plugs were definitely not firing on all cylinders.
That was then . . .
So now it’s 23 years later and I’m realizing that even the 15-year-old emotional mess that arrived at the doorstep of recovery needed tearing down. The living practices I used before recovery had outlived their time.
I needed to grow up.
The thought was kind of depressing because it meant discarding several practices that served me well (or so I thought).
For instance, no more finger-pointing.
What? Me? I most certainly did not point fingers at others.
Oh really? So your record is clean when it comes to blaming? You’ve never uttered the words, “well, if she hadn’t done blah-blah, then I could have blah-blah” or something close?
You’ve never started an explanation with “you don’t understand” or “yeah, but” or even “but, wait a minute . . . “?
Those are all dead giveaways of finger-pointing and a sign of emotional immaturity.
God, I hate it when the voices in my head gang up on me.
But wait, there’s more!
What about the so-called justified anger, sulking, hurt pride, and the occasional temper tantrums?
Alright already! I get it. So I can be a big baby sometimes.
Wow. Okay. That’s quite an admission. Congratulations.
This is now . . .
One of the gifts of long-term recovery is levity. I’ve learned to laugh at the ways I show up for recovery some days. Oh, I can’t see my itty-bitty babyness when I’m whining or complaining, but give me a few minutes to talk it out (in my head), or write it out, and I’m usually chuckling.
But one of the most major gifts is truly understanding that I am 100% responsible for my life. That’s how I know I’m growing up. That’s how I know I’m making progress.
I saw a Facebook post the other day (thanks to Tess Marshall of The Bold Life) that originated with Hope in Recovery Through Love, Light and Laughter. It was this photo that reads: “More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.”
Isn’t that the truth? As Tess reminded me, it is critical that my responsibility level for my life is 100%. Not 72% or even 99%, but 100-all-in-percent.
Who’s with me on this?
Are you up for the challenge?
In the comments section, share with me how you know you’re growing up in recovery. What old, childish behaviors have you torn down to make way for your new awesome self?
Post photo courtesy of stweedlie