Don’t Let a Hard Week Take You Down

by Bill Brenner on July 1, 2010

Nothing challenges recovery like a bad week. Or was it a good week?

Mood music for this post: “Outshined” by Soundgarden:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLZBhlTXHuo&hl=en_US&fs=1]

This has not been the best of weeks. It started with a lot of worrying about money and has taken a lot of twists and turns. Things are looking up, but now I have to nurse the physical damage that happens when the OCD runs hot.

As I write this my head is pounding. I’m feeling restless and tired. I’m ultra sensitive to the sound of the birds outside my open living room window. But, oddly enough, beneath it all I’m in a pretty good mood.

For one thing, a week like this used to be my perfect excuse to plunge into my favorite addictions.

I’d spend $40 a day on fast food and drink wine from the bottle. I’d forget to shower for days. I’d sleep a lot because that was better than facing the world.

I’d lie there and worry about all the things I had no control over; things that were not there in the real world but were very real in my mind.

It used to be fairly easy to get into this kind of state. A fight with a family member would be enough to set off the chain of events. Work worries could always be counted on to flip the switch. The neighbor’s dog looking at me the wrong way would send me into a mood swing.

None of that stuff has been part of this week.

Sure, I’ve worried about a few things, but I haven’t binged over it. I did waste Sunday afternoon in shut-down mode, but as Erin told me, I shouldn’t feel bad about it. It’s a gift that I have this kill switch that shuts me down and forces me to cool off sometimes.

I had to do something this week that was extremely hard for me. It was the kind of thing that stabbed at my sense of self respect. A real body blow to my pride. Something that made me feel like a leech. But I’m now seeing it as something I needed to do; something that has turned out to be a sign of personal growth. I’ll give you a lot more explanation on this tomorrow or Saturday, when I have a better fix on the outcome.

As crappy as this week has been, I know I don’t have to eat or booze over it. I can still pull myself together and have a very productive work week.

The 12 Steps make it possible. So does the realization that I have deep family support and a wife and kids that complete me. I have many more friends than I had a decade ago. Not sure how that happened, but I’m grateful for it.

All of what I just described is possible because I have God in my life. He doesn’t give me anything more than I can handle. I guess that means I can handle quite a bit. I’m actually grateful for that.

Recovery can be a messy thing. There are always setbacks that test you. Relapse is always seconds away.

But I’ve learned that if you trust God and those around you — and if you refuse to let your stupid pride be a barrier — you can do the right things and everything will work out.

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