For those of us who weren’t raised with a high value put into the adoption of faith, the notion of managing our expectations can be foreign. In our addictions, we became used to the immediate payoff of positive feelings that goes along with drug and alcohol use and this perspective can skew the reality of how life works. We’ve often heard the phrase, “nothing worth having comes without work” and while this is accurate, this statement is also incomplete. It fails to address the fact that engaging in the work and right action doesn’t always yield immediate results. In life and in sobriety, the reality is that the benefits and rewards that come from engaging in consistent daily action are often delayed weeks, months, and sometimes even years.
Another appropriate adage tells us that, “we cannot expect to walk 10 miles into the forest and expect to get out in 2 miles.” This is certainly applicable to addicts in recovery as it can take a long time to undo the damage that we have caused to ourselves and to our loved ones whilst in active addiction. To think about it another way, the shortest amount of time that takes to obtain marked benefits from psychotherapy is about 12 sessions. If we were to go to therapy once a week that would mean that substantial and noticeable progress would take a minimum of 3 months to achieve. Realistically, progress in therapy usually takes years and we shouldn’t expect our journey in recovery to be any different. The purpose here is not to discourage engaging in the work, but rather understanding that doing the work, and persevering through the discomfort and frustration that can come along with the work is the only way we can hope to continue ridding ourselves of our old and destructive behaviors.
In conclusion, there is another adage which may aid in navigating the waters of managing expectations that says, “expectations are simply letdowns in disguise.” If we dutifully and consistently engage in right actions, we need not be bogged down by setting up expectations, regardless of whether or not they are realistic. The point is that we need to engage in right action by virtue of the fact that it is good, right and just. If we can keep our sights on taking action in the present, we leave the opportunities for our future limitless.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.