Throughout this journey of recovery I have put myself through a lot of unnecessary trials that have made it difficult to live serene and happy on a regular basis. Drugs, alcohol, gangs, lies, etc., all buried me in depression, doubt, danger, and hopelessness. I wanted to end all of this pain, and I thought it was too late for me. I had to make a choice to start living or to start dying, and dying was just too easy. I knew myself before the drugs and I was a good person and I recognized that this is when I was truly living. I wanted that life and in order to get it back I couldn’t let any of these old temptations get in my way. I had to fight though the doubt and pain to achieve happiness and contentment. The only way to push forward is to hold on tightly, maintain my resilience, and never give up.
Resilience is strength from within one self that keeps us going through setbacks and struggles when we feel truly defeated. Resilience is the energy we find within that allows us to regain control and “play the tape through” before acting and making matters worse. Resilience can make itself apparent in a split second even though it evolves over time as we learn to change our destructive patterns. Being able to recognize my negative thoughts and not acting on them helps enable positive thinking, which gives me the hope and faith I need to know that there is a change for the better in my journey of recovery. Resiliency comes to others when there is no other choice but to move forward and not give up. The importance of understanding a potential life or death situation makes all the difference.
Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficult situations arise in life. For the last 6 month I have been working hard on my resiliency. For me, resilience wasn’t something I learned overnight; I’ve learned it by staying sober through uncomfortable emotions. I was so used to distancing myself from emotions and only being able to get through them with some kind of substance. I’ve gone from sleeping on my friend’s floor with no motivation for life, to working on myself in treatment to enrolling in school and creating a vision for my life. There are a lot of highs and lows that go along with the rollercoaster of life but, for the first time, I am learning who I am. I am able to deal with all the things that get in the way of me achieving my goals. I’ve learned to retrain my brain and learn to be patient through the pain; learning how to be comfortable with myself. I feel proud of myself every time that I am able to come out the other side of all the ups and downs of life and stay sober! I wish I had learned these skills at a younger age but the beauty of learning it later on in my life is that I am able to look back at all my experiences and see where I went wrong and how I could have used the skills of resiliency.
As we continue our Word of the Week series here at South Orange County Detox & Treatment, we are going to be highlighting “resilience” as we discuss why the ability to enact this particular attitude is integral to long, and even more importantly, short-term sobriety. One is hard-pressed to imagine a scenario where someone would need to personify the necessary characteristics of resilience more so than during the process of recovery. As anyone who has embarked on the journey of sobriety knows, there are points in time where the pressure becomes seemingly unbearable due to the cacophony of dark forces that echo like desperate screams inside our heads. These are the moments in time where we define our future by choosing to persevere rather than acquiescing to the torturous nihilism that breeds depression and desperation. We can think of resilience as variety of skills that, when brought together, will allow us to face life on life’s terms with the understanding that doing so will lead us down the road less traveled; as Frost stated, “I chose the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference.” Let’s examine exactly what it means to forge a course that is off the beaten path. “Life show up” is an adage I’ve heard before in 12 step meetings and I believe this simple statement is actually trying to indicate to us that we have limited control over a finite amount of facets in the context of life’s entire process. When we face difficulties of all imaginable sorts, physical, emotional, psychological, existential, interpersonal, etc., we collide with a fork in the road where we can try and regain or retain control, or we can, to use another 12 adage, “Let go and Let God.”
To illustrate this further, let’s think of surfing as a metaphor. Anyone who has surfed or even witnessed surfing understands that we are not controlling the waves. Waves are formed independently of any human influence and do not submit to the wishes of those who are lucky enough to enjoy experiencing the power, grace, and sometimes ruthlessness that manifest through their magnificent force. If we can conceptualize the approach to surfing and apply it to how we engage with life we will be able to find much wisdom from this perspective. Wipeouts are inevitable in the water and also outside of it but the one’s resiliency is truly put to the test the moment after we breach the surface of the water back into the clarity of life. Our success in recovery is directly correlated to how quickly and powerfully we rebound from our “wipeouts”. We cannot change, alter, or modify the suffering and adversity that life inevitably brings, but we all have the spiritual weapons within us that allows us to battle and defeat the demons whose only purpose is to destroy our will and contaminate our divinity with despair. If we can maintain faith that our very essence is divinely inspired and protected, we will implement all the traits that constitute our resilience and ultimately, “we will ride life to perfect laughter as it is the only good fight there is.”