Focus on the journey. When building a bridge, it is not a good idea to also be constructing a building. Recovery requires myopic focus. This is not the time to begin a new relationships, change jobs, move, or work on marital issues. Rather, all energy, time, and resources should be directed towards the recovery process. This ensures the greatest possibility of success.

Modify process as needed. As hard as a person might try, not everything is predictable. Even blueprints need to be revised during the construction process as new information is gathered. So does the recovery process. This is where having an experienced person guiding the process is helpful as they can best redirect the new path. Google cannot help with this.

Reset expectations. As the bridge is being constructed, it may look a bit different from what was envisioned at first. So new expectations and adjustments need to be made. From a recovery standpoint, this might mean the alcoholic needs to leave their bartending job and find a new vocation. Or a person might find it necessary to move after a divorce. These expectations should be discussed with the accountability partners.

Develop new boundaries. Think of boundaries as railings on a bridge designed to keep everyone safe and in their own lane. This is not about boxing someone in so they lose their freedom. Rather, it is a safety issue designed to protect a person from falling into the same problem in the future. A good recovery process establishes new boundaries.

Reorganize life. Once the bridge is built, traffic is rerouted to utilize the new structure. So it is true with recovery. Life is reorganized with new expectations, priorities, boundaries, purpose, relationships, and goals. This is the time to enjoy and celebrate the accomplishments of completing recovery.

Cultivate new growth. As the years progress after recovery, new growth in areas that was not foreseen often develops. Just like a bridge can generate economic growth in areas that previously struggled, so can recovery. Many who have successfully completed the process find that giving back to others who are struggling is an immensely satisfying experience.

Again, these steps are just a rough draft. A good recovery process needs to be intentional, supported, and followed. Once it is complete, it is time to savor the new view.

Wingate Wilderness Therapy is a program designed to help 13-18 year olds and 18-26 year olds get back in touch with themselves and the natural world around them. If your son or daughter is struggling, give us a call at (800) 560-1599.

  Originally written by Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

  Christine is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor by the State of Florida.

  She has over fifteen years of experience in counseling, teaching and ministry.

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