In addiction we were always busy. We were acting out, recovering from acting out, waiting for the next chance to use, preparing to act out, using, etc.
Life was hectic as we tried to keep all the balls in the air. Then we’d drop them and things got even worse as we tried to salvage the situation while at the same time protecting our addictions. Some of us became so accustomed to this stressful cycle that we became chaos junkies, unable to relax and even notice the roses – – let alone smell them. If we were codependents, the pressure was just as great or greater, since our addicts were our drugs, and they weren’t even fun! .
For people with backgrounds like that, recovery can be boring. Our lives slow down, and unaccustomed to having time on our hands, we become uneasy. We get into the “making up for lost time” mode, trying to get our lives back to “normal” when we haven’t yet even begun to learn the skills we need in order to do so. We’re living the same life, just without our drug. We’re like the codependent cowboy, who jumped on his horse and rode off in all directions.
This is not getting over the madness! It’s not what recovery is about. We need to learn to slow down; to consciously embrace our down time and use it to learn how to relax. The Serenity Prayer is a big help, as are readings, Journaling and meditation. Perhaps the biggest factor is giving ourselves permission to take things a little bit slow, a little bit easy.
Connecting with people in the program and having fun with them is an invaluable tool, as well. If we get phone numbers (and use them), go for coffee after meetings, and get to know our fellows in recovery, it won’t take long before we’re invited to take part in their lives. These are people who have already learned how to slow down and have fun. We can let them be our guides on this new journey.
And we can become humans being, not just humans doing.