Resilience

“Tomorrow isn’t promised.” It’s a piece of folk wisdom: direct, and based in plain fact. The Coronavirus has taught us, again, that our assumptions about the future are just that–assumptions. We make our plans and do the best we can. Investing in our personal development creates our best chance to build a good future. But tomorrow isn’t promised.


The ability to adapt to a changing, uncertain future is one of the most valuable skills a person can develop. Counselors and social scientists call this ability “resilience.” It’s one of the key predicting traits for contentment in adult life. Since humans can’t control every event, they are well served by focusing on controlling their responses. Informally this is often called “playing the hand you’re dealt.”


Recovering people are students of resilience. After the chaos and pain of addiction, recovering folks are highly motivated to “live life on life’s terms.” They want to respond to circumstances as they really are, not as one might wish them to be. Recovering people take comfort in knowing that some problems can be fixed, and the ones that can’t be, will pass into memory someday. Connection with others is the safety net that allows them to believe they will survive emotionally as well as physically.

Dr. Karl Menninger, one of the founders of the Clinic that bears his name, once said that treatment could make his patients “weller than well.” He was referring to a broader definition of mental and emotional health challenges, but those in recovery from substance use disorders have adopted this idea enthusiastically. When a newcomer makes the commitment to really allow change to occur in his/her life, he/she learns tools, attitudes, and relationship skills that never seemed attainable before. Sobriety provides clarity. Active pursuit of more functional ways of thinking and living presents solutions that would previously have seemed like fantasy.


The Coronavirus has changed our lives. If you are a recovering person, and isolation is causing problems for you, contact your sober friends. Try some online meetings. Reach out to newcomers, check in with your friends, and stay in touch with supportive family members. Put in the extra work, and reinforce your sobriety in whatever ways are required. Nothing is worth using again. This too shall pass!"


(adapted from PositiveRecovery.com)

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LifeRing Secular Recovery is an organization of people who share practical experiences and sobriety support. There are as many ways to live free of drugs and alcohol as there are stories of successful sober people.

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