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As we're working to recover, the changes we make can be difficult for us to see because they tend to happen gradually and incrementally, not suddenly or all at once. We can have a hard time processing these changes, because we feel impatient with the recovery process and want to feel as though we've done enough work to keep us sober and in good mental and emotional health. Many of us want to speed along the process and are frustrated when we haven't made as much progress as we would have liked. Our recovery is a series of changes and small steps. We're making progress each and every day, even when it doesn't feel like it. One thing we can do for ourselves to help ourselves slow down and really appreciate all the progress we've made is to start celebrating each change we make, no matter how small and insignificant it might seem to us in the moment.

Pushing Ourselves Out of Our Comfort Zone

When we make note of the changes we've made and the transitions we've successfully completed, we help keep ourselves motivated. We give ourselves the encouragement we need, and the push to keep going. We affirm and validate ourselves. We show ourselves support and appreciation. One of the greatest changes we can make is beginning to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. This is a change which often goes unnoticed for many of us, and we often take it for granted. We tend to be more focused on how uncomfortable we feel with the process, how overwhelming and frustrating this push can be for us. For example, we push ourselves out of our familiar comfort zone when we actively work to change a habit, when we stop doing a habit we know to be toxic for us, or when we start doing something completely new and unfamiliar to us.

Accepting the Growing Pains of Change

Many of become impatient with ourselves for not adjusting to our new habits easily. We are frustrated when we feel the tension and friction that can come with starting something new or shedding something we've been doing for a long time. Our habits are deeply ingrained in us. They are what we are most familiar and comfortable with. It's never easy to push ourselves out of a self-destructive pattern and shift our lives in a whole new direction. We feel a great deal of internal conflict, and sometimes we feel bad about this, rather than realizing that there is a growth process to making changes, and there might be some growing pains involved. Instead of having strict expectations for how things should be, for how quickly we should adjust, or for how we should be responding to the change, let's celebrate the fact that we're committed to making change at all. Let's congratulate ourselves for setting the intention to do better, to feel better, and to push ourselves forward. Let's push ourselves gently but firmly, giving ourselves love, compassion and patience as we go.

Acknowledging the Small Wins Too

Let's acknowledge each and every change we make, rather than glossing over them in order to focus on the big wins. We are often inclined to celebrate only the big successes in life, receiving a promotion at work, getting married, or graduating from school. We don't feel worthy of celebrating the small wins, the day we managed to resist an addictive urge successfully, or the time we maintained a healthy boundary in a relationship that was triggering for us. We might celebrate a whole year sober, but we don't want to celebrate when we check into rehab. Every small change we make adds up to the big life transformations. When we make changes that we hope will be lasting changes, that we want to be meaningful and impactful for the rest of our lives, a lot of daily work goes into them. We don't wake up one day and surprise, we're sober. Our sobriety comes from the small, daily choices we make, from turning down an offer for a drink, from choosing to spend our money on something constructive rather than our drug of choice, from separating ourselves from a triggering situation. Similarly, we don't dig ourselves out of depression overnight. We usually find ourselves feeling better, stronger and healthier gradually. We put time, effort and energy into our healing and implement small changes, like beginning a journaling routine, seeing a therapist, or starting a gratitude practice. All of these changes might seem small to us, but they show us that we're prioritizing our well-being and taking our recovery seriously. They show us that we're capable of powerful healing and transformation.

Internal Change

When we're making these important choices, we're changing our whole perspective. We're changing our mentality on who we are and whether or not we believe we can recover. We're affirming to ourselves that recovery is possible for us, and that we're capable of achieving it. We're validating the work we're doing. We're changing the way we treat ourselves to be self-encouraging and self-loving. We're gaining a stronger, more empowered sense of self. These are huge, monumental, foundational changes worthy of celebrating. Even when they only show up in small, sometimes undetectable ways, these changes are taking place within us. Every time we acknowledge the changes we've initiated and the progress we're making, we propel ourselves forward. We add to our increasing momentum, and we fuel our motivation to continue onward in our recovery.

Professional help can make all the difference in your child’s life. We are dedicated to helping your child achieve sobriety and live up to their full potential. Reach out to WinGate Wilderness Therapy today.

(800) 560-1599
wingatewildernesstherapy.com

P.O. Box 347
Kanab, UT 84741

About the Author:
Shayne Gallagher
Shayne Gallagher

Founder/Executive Director

For more than 30 years, Shayne Gallagher has provided...

For more than 30 years, Shayne Gallagher has provided healing wilderness experiences for adolescents, young adults, and families. With...