When examining the factors that contribute to relapse in early sobriety, we can discuss several factors such as a lack of social support, hanging out with toxic friends and in toxic environments, and engaging in relationships before we were ready. While these all certainly contribute to relapse, we need to turn our attention to the “silent killer” in order to ensure we are aware of blind spots as we forge a new path for ourselves and our lives. This silent killer, in less apocalyptic terms, is an unwillingness to engage with patience within these early stages of recovery. The reason patience can be overlooked is due to its very nature; patience implies delaying gratification in order to obtain a greater reward down the line. If we are able to take this perspective, we ought to be immediately wary of our ability to employ this virtue based on our past history in addition that was laid upon the foundation of the desire, and eventual need, of immediate gratification.
Because, as addicts, we have this proclivity towards a lack of patience, it is necessary to acknowledge this fact in order to begin planning to combat against it. It is akin to acknowledging the problem of our addiction in the first place; we cannot begin the healing process until we recognize that we need healing. Similarly, if we do not make efforts to harvest patience, we will run the risk of becoming frustrated and complacent which are the precursors to relapse. Patience, in the context of recovery, is also a form of self-love. As individuals in recovery whose past is characterized by getting what we want when we want it, we are going to need to radically alter this expectation and approach to life in recovery as well as life in general. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.” Upon reading this initially, it may seem as though this is another “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” type of statement where we can imagine a finger wagging condescendingly at us. This is incorrect, however, as we will soon find once we engage in hard work and subsequently reap the rewards for our commitment. The promises do in fact come true; they are not a matter of luck, but they are a result of patience and perseverance.
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.