Our addictions and mental health issues can be so debilitating, painful, and overwhelming that we don’t know how to cope with them or how to help ourselves. We can become overpowered by our fear and by how overwhelmed we feel. We’re too confused to know what to do, where to turn to for support, or how to find relief for our pain. We might feel as though we don’t have anyone in our lives we can ask for help. We might be afraid of being judged and looked down upon, so we choose not to ask for help from the people who are trying to support us. We feel as though we can’t function on a day-to-day basis. Our basic responsibilities and demands have now become too overwhelming to handle. When we’re in this place, sometimes we shut down completely. We become paralyzed by our feelings of overwhelm, and all the changes we know we need to make feel insurmountable, impossible, or out of our reach.
The huge transformative life changes we need to make in our lives in order to get well can be broken down into small, manageable steps. When things feel too overwhelming, all we need to do is separate them into pieces that we can look at and manage more easily. It can be much easier to navigate small steps that we can organize and process, rather than trying to take on this larger-than-life, fear-inducing life transformation we don’t feel ready for. Sobriety is a lofty, overwhelming, scary goal. When we think about getting sober, we might feel nervous, anxious, uneasy and totally unsure of ourselves. We might feel terrified of failing. We doubt ourselves and our ability to succeed. We don’t think we’re strong enough to face this big of a challenge or to transcend all the limitations we still believe about ourselves. How can we break up our sobriety into small steps? We can take things one day at a time, one small piece at a time.
Long-lasting sobriety started out as one day of going to a meeting, calling our sponsor when we felt triggered, and scheduling a therapy session. Then it turned into two days. Maybe we decided to start exercising, meditating, or starting a gratitude practice. Then the next day, we took advantage of our treatment center’s continuing education programs and relapse prevention education. Each of these small steps might not feel huge or life-altering, but taken together they transform our lives. These small steps form the foundation of our sobriety and all the freedom it has to offer us. When we feel paralyzed by overwhelming feelings, unable to move, unable to function, let’s ask ourselves what we can do at this moment to help ourselves to feel better. What about for this next hour? How can we make today a day worth celebrating for the small steps we take towards our recovery?
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.