Daffodils are truly amazing. Each spring, tiny green buds struggle to emerge from the frozen ground. Despite severe and brutal conditions, they continue to grow. Eventually, one unexpected day, they breakout into beautiful blooms. The cheery flowers seem to say that Spring is here. Then it snows and the fragile blossoms are covered in ice crystals. Although it seems impossible, those resilient flowers continue to bloom and soon blanket the garden in brilliant shades of yellow.
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from adverse situations, not to “bounce back” from hardship. Many families believe that in recovery, life will go back to the way it was before addiction. Unfortunately, addiction forever changes families. It is impossible to go back.
Watching the daffodils labor to bloom and eventually thrive is like watching families impacted by addiction. At first the struggle seems insurmountable. Yet recovery provides many opportunities for families to grow, to build resilience, to live meaningful lives.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
-Francis of Assisi
For a long time, life was likely consumed by the actions of someone in active addiction. The words “you need to take care of yourself” may have seemed trite, condescending, even absurd. While difficult to hear, self-care is the foundation to building resilience. Having a daily routine provides the structure to lead a healthy life centered in recovery. Good ways to start are paying attention to diet, establishing healthy sleep habits, exercising, and devoting time to meditation or prayer.
Addiction is so isolating. It robs families of relationships and destroys spiritual connections. It takes work to build healthy relationships. Join a group that supports your commitment to healthy living. This can be a 12-Step group, other support groups, group therapy, a religious community, a book club, yoga class, etc. During times of adversity, it is easy to turn to black and white thinking – the situation is either all good or all bad. So quickly feelings of hope change to fear and serenity turns into anxiety. When thinking in the extremes of fear and anxiety, crises seem insurmountable. Listening to the experience, strength, and hope of others may provide a new perspective.
It is important to have goals. However, lofty goals may lead to feelings of failure as they appear to be impossible to attain in the face of adversity. When life changes, change your goals and act. While this may mean scaling down expectations in the short term, there are things that you can do TODAY to ensure your recovery. Through this daily practice, new skills begin to build even healthier coping skills. This leads to new goals and soon you are doing what once seemed impossible.