In Long-Term Recovery, We do Come Out of the Woods
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After many years of recovery, years of working the steps, and doing service I had the experience of coming “Out of the Woods.”
It actually felt like that. Other people have described this as feeling like the wild swings of the recovery pendulum are slowing to graceful arcs. Whatever the metaphor, we know that recovery changes over time. It changes in the first two years, then more in the next three years and then a very significant change happens after ten years.
Most of us in “double-digit” recovery know is that a program of recovery are part of a good life but that even these do not protect us from illness, job troubles, problems with kids and family, all manner of loss. Real life happens to people in recovery. In fact life can hit harder simply because we are older. But it’s also true that not using painkillers—the chemical or the human kind—does leave us a bit more raw so we have to use recovery tools even more diligently in later years.
A changed life brings changed issues. But the good news is that we are able to see the things that happen to us with just a tiny bit more perspective.
What people in long recovery do have is a set of skills and a rich pool of experience to fall back on. We recognize our patterns; we cut through our defenses sooner; and we learn not to fight the inevitable.
Long recovery gives us a good toolkit and we keep on building.