3 Ways to Give Yourself Grace in Recovery

By The Fix staff 08/04/20

Sometimes, creating positive change takes time. That’s okay (especially now).

Image: 
Woman stares thoughtfully over laptop computer
We often extend grace to others, but forget to save some for ourselves. ID 133854364 © Fizkes | Dreamstime.com

Early on during the pandemic, you might have had grand ideas of what you would do with all your expected free time. With fewer places to be, you might learn to play the piano or finally delve into that workout routine. Maybe you’d read all those self-help books or attend more virtual meetings. You would do everything you dreamed about during treatment.

Since then, you’ve probably realized that you’re not quite as productive as you thought you’d be during quarantine. Whether you’re well-established in recovery or newly sober, this time of uncertainty can be overwhelming, so it’s important to allow yourself the grace and understanding to acknowledge that sometimes, progress is slow in recovery.

There are periods when — even without a pandemic — recovery happens at a slower pace than you would like. That’s all right. Here’s three steps to find peace with the pace of your progress.

Give Yourself Space and Grace

Picture this: your friend is newly sober. She’s doing a great job of living life without drugs or alcohol. But, she’s frustrated. She wants a better job and a nice person to go on dates with. She beats herself up when she makes small mistakes, like falling into old patterns of self-sabotage.

What would you tell her? You would probably celebrate the progress she’s made, and encourage her to be patient. Now, put yourself in her shoes. When you’re looking at your own progress it’s easy to be self-critical and frustrated rather than celebratory and empathetic.

Grace means “courteous goodwill.” We often extend grace to others, but forget to save some for ourselves. Instead of understanding that we’ll make mistakes even when we’re trying our best, we beat ourselves up over missteps. Next time you find yourself turning a critical eye inward, replace that criticism with grace, telling yourself you’re doing great.

Take A Step Back

When you’re living recovery each and every day, the small changes you’re making become your norm. You might not see the healthy glow on your cheeks, or recognize how amazing it is that you no longer live a life ruled by cravings.

Taking a step back to see how far you’ve come can help you celebrate the real progress you’ve made. This is best done using hard, concrete facts that you can look at. Scroll through your social media and see how the image that you project today is different from a year ago; look at your finances and celebrate that they’re no longer in disarray; read through an old journal and recognize the patterns you used to repeat.

Recovery takes a lot of hard work. It’s important to acknowledge that and appreciate everything that you have done for yourself.

Give Yourself Permission To Be Satisfied

Personal growth is important — it’s great to always be striving for the next rung on your ladder to success. But sometimes, continuously moving can be exhausting. It’s okay to have periods when you move forward more slowly, or just stay put for a bit.

This is especially important during the COVID crisis. Everyone around the globe is dealing with a lot of stress right now. There’s the physical health crisis, and the accompanying mental health crisis brought on by fear and uncertainty. Many people are dealing with financial uncertainty as well.

You might find that now isn’t a time to grow — no matter how well-intentioned you were about those guitar lessons or that new knitting kit. During these uncertain times, just surviving and keeping your recovery going is something to celebrate. When things return to normal you can focus again on your next big goal.

Now, more than ever, we’re forced to face the fact that we can’t always control what’s happening in our lives. Still, you can focus on small, daily habits that help keep you clean and sober. Tend to the essentials for your recovery, whether that’s meditation, exercise, meetings or mentorship, but give yourself permission to let the other things go. After all, they’ll all be there again when life — sooner or later — gets back to normal.

Learn more about Oceanside Malibu at http://oceansidemalibu.com/. Reach Oceanside Malibu by phone at (866) 738-6550. Find Oceanside Malibu on Facebook.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
the-fix-logo.png

The Fix staff consists of the editor-in-chief and publisher, a senior editor, an associate editor, an editorial coordinator, and several contributing editors and writers. Articles in Professional Voices, Ask an Expert, and similar sections are written by doctors, psychologists, clinicians, professors and other experts from universities, hospitals, government agencies and elsewhere. For contact and other info, please visit our About Us page.