Anyone who has struggled with addiction can tell you what its like to be in the grip of the beast. We can describe the countless times we determined to quit. The plans, the promises, the pleadings, the prayers — the pain. And, then we can recount the relapses. Those heartbreaking, soul-crushing, damning relapses that proved all of our insecurities were true. Ugh!

Deep breath.

Herein lies the kicker. There is no perfect anything. You weren’t the perfect addict, you won’t be perfect in recovery. Mistakes happen. Recovery is all about making the NEXT right choice.

In her book, “Rising Strong” Brene Brown wrote, “The truth is that FALLING HURTS. The Dare is to keep being BRAVE and Feel your way BACK UP.”

I repeat “The dare is to keep being brave and feel your way back up.”

Addiction makes you believe that there is no way back up. Your brain feels the pain and screams for you to act impulsively — to numb out the escalation. To Just. Not. Feel. When I think of this cycle a song comes to mind.

Kasey Musgrave sings this in her song, “Merry-Go-Round”

Same hurt in every heart
Same trailer, different park

Mamas hooked on Mary Kay
Brothers hooked on Mary Jane
And Daddies hooked on Mary two doors down

Mary Mary quite contrary,
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town
On this broken merry go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round we go,
Where it stops nobody knows,
And it ain’t slowin’ down, this merry go ‘round

I don’t think of the merry-go-round as a high-speed adventure that addiction once was. Eventually, it just becomes the master and we become the slave — until we remember this truth: Recovery is about making the next right choice.

We have not, we will not and we cannot have mistake-free recoveries. Believing this sets us up for instant failure and back on the merry-go-round we go. Listening to the carnival music as it blurs out our realities and weakens our connections to others with each pass as we wonder how we got here — again and again. Then again, “it is what it is”. (Oh, there’s the acceptance.)

“The Irony is that We attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our WHOLENESS — even our WHOLEHEARTEDNESS- actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.” Brene Brown.

We cannot get off the merry-go-round until we bravely recognize that that is where we are. First, we have to stop beating ourselves for being here. That is just wasted energy. We are on the merry-go-round again. Period. We need to get off. Period. No condemnation. No excessive judgment. No justification. Simple accountability. (For therein lies our power to make positive change!)

Sarah Bareilles wrote in her song called “BRAVE”

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

I love that song! It takes so much courage to still your mind enough to get to this point, but with this newfound power comes the space to heal. Self-judgement and criticism keep us locked in place. Letting go of those helps us quit pretending to ourselves and others that “we’ve got this” or that “it’s not that bad.” It just “is what it is” and as we stop beating ourselves up we create extra space in our brain to make the next right choice.

In the words of one of my gurus, Brene Brown, “There is no greater threat to the Critics and Cynics and Fearmongers than those of us who are WILLING TO FALL because we have learned HOW TO RISE.”

If you live in Utah County and find yourself wanting to get off of the merry-go-round and are looking to make the next right choice you can contact us. No judgments, just space to heal.

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