Take Two Steps Forward and One Step Back in Recovery | XL Drug Rehab Blog

Take Two Steps Forward and One Step Back in Recovery

Posted on 16. Mar, 2015 by in Alcohol & Drug Abuse, Sober Living

When we are in a process of healing and learning new ways to manage our lives, it’s likely that we are going to forget once in awhile. For instance, let’s say you’re learning about how to respond to your husband in a more loving way – versus in the emotionally abrasive way you used to when you were drinking. One day, when you’ve gotten home from work after a long day, some of your old patterns might just slip out. You might inadvertently say a rude comment, pushing him aside just like you used to.

Yet, as soon as you have an opportunity to take a bath, relax, and eat, you realize that the way you treated your spouse was the old you – not the recovering you, not the you that’s healing and growing to be more loving towards yourself and others.

This process of learning, forgetting, and adjusting is natural. In recovery, it’s frequently a process of taking two steps forward and one step back. It’s often a process of learning and becoming more aware and then on a day when it’s stressful, you might find yourself forgetting your new coping tools and resorting to your old tactics. It’s a process we all go through – whether you’re in recovery or not.

It’s important to remember that recovery is a process. Some people might beat themselves up over “making a mistake” or they might feel like they “know better”. However, there’s a saying in the recovery community: “Progress, not perfection.” Although perfection is a trait of many addicts, it’s not the goal of sober living, progress is. For others, it’s not so much about being perfect, but instead it’s the discomfort of having learned something and wanting to be able to apply it. And when you can’t or when you forget, you might get angry or frustrated.

Others might feel a sense of self-doubt, wondering to themselves whether they’re going to be able to stay sober or even whether they’re worthy of having a sober life. This feeling of inadequacy can leave people wondering about the path they’re on and whether it’s the right one. However, these sort of feelings immediately undermine your sobriety. If you’ve come this far, if you’ve gotten sober in the first place, it’s important to remember that the road to recovery is a rocky one from time to time. You’re going to take two steps forward and one step back.

When you take that one step back, remember that overall you’re making progress. If you have those feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, perhaps it’s best to do a little comparing between your life today and your life 2 years ago. Can you see how far you’ve come?

Kettelhack also reminds his readers that it’s all about progress, and not to get stuck in trying to get it right all the time. That’s never going to happen. In fact, you might even say that being in recovery is like being in school for life – a school that you should have received as a child, but didn’t. In recovery, you’re learning

  • how to take care of yourself
  • how to manage your emotions
  • how to put your needs first before others
  • how to get your needs met
  • how to ask for help when you need it
  • how to no longer ignore your feelings
  • how to manage stress
  • how to give yourself time for self-care everyday
  • how to recognize your triggers and warning signs

Recovery is a school for life and the tests are given every day in your daily interactions with others. When you’re not getting into fights with others and when you’re no longer isolating, those are good signs that you’re staying safe and sober.

If you’re experiencing sobriety and if you’re making progress, that’s what matters. In the school of life, expect to take two steps forward and one step back.

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