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Balance In Recovery

 Balance = Peace and Freedom

When I was out there drinking I always lived by the motto, “go big or go home”. As an alcoholic it was so difficult for me to find balance in any area of my life. It was a life of extreme’s and most of them very destructive in nature. I did everything to excess. Non-stop drinking along with extreme bouts of insecurity, fear, and low self-esteem that became huge in my magic magnifying mind. In my grandiose moments of clarity if I did not swing for the fences I saw myself as striking out. Recovery has taught me to take what life pitches me. Today, I hit for a far higher average and hit more home runs than I ever did before. It all came down to learning how to find balance in my life. To accept life as it is and to live on purpose consistently.

go big or go home

I still find myself with certain things reverting to the “go big or go home” mantra. When I drank I always drank to excess. Near the end I would always pre-game at the house in order to save money. Even though I had to buy those too. Then I would drink as many as I could while at the bar usually turning to shots and ordering extra rounds near closing time. I mean what was the point of drinking if you did not get drunk. Today it still rears its head in a few of my behaviors if I am not careful. For example, I can’t just order a simple combo meal from a drive thru. I order the combo plus another cheeseburger deluxe and super size it all. This go big or go home mentality is the very reason I am currently on a low-carb diet.

balance

I am in constant search for balance in my life. Maintaining that balance brings me a level of peace and freedom that I have never known before. But it is something that certainly did not come easy but did come when I put the work in to achieve it. The old slogan, “it works if you work it”, rings true for most things we face. It is not just for recovery but a practice we should apply in life as well. If I work at maintaining balance in my life then I keep in remission that selfish desire to go big or go home in all things. If I do not, I will take control and run my life into the ditch within a short time span. The following tips are ways that I seek and maintain balance today. I wanted to share them with you in hopes that they might help you or someone you know also.

Tips to maintaining balance in life

  1. Developing a consistent routine – Keeping a decent level of order and regularity in my life helps me to regulate any anxiety that life brings my way. My mornings consist of coffee, prayer, and reading. I have developed the discipline to do this without fail. It boosts my esteem and provides me a clarity and power knowing that the day is beginning on a positive note. The consistency keeps the anxiety and fear at bay which were triggers for me to begin to swing towards the excess. I attend recovery groups, attend church. I go to bed and get up at the same time on a daily basis. This brings a discipline and consistency to my daily life which gives me the confidence to hit the pitch that life throws that day.
  2. Accountability – Having a group of people I trust that will be honest with me is important. As with many facets of recovery we must have accountability to helps us maintain balance. People that are close to us, know our tendencies and will keep us in check. When we feel out of balance being able to share these feelings with others who understand us can help us see where we are having difficulty. It is a tool I do not use often enough and I am currently focusing on to make more effective in my program.
  3. Self-care – Finding what we like to do, what we enjoy, is also a tough chore for many in recovery. Exploring those things will be a process since many of us probably let drugs or alcohol take those away. Things like exercise, proper nutrition, and giving effort to our overall general health are also necessary. Take time for you, take time to recharge. Go fishing, go hiking, take a long bubble bath and paint your toe nails. Self-care will allow us to be more grounded and not apt to swing from one extreme to another.
  4. Working a strong program – Your best defense to relapse, your best vehicle to living a life of purpose, is also what provides life balance and meaning. Find a program that works for you. It will consist of a routine, accountability, and self-care components but it will not work if you do not put all your efforts into it. It must become your first priority so that you find that balance and become the best version of you that you can be.

balance

By working your program in recovery you will find that you begin to maintain levels of balance that bring a higher level of serenity that you have not known before. A peace and freedom in your day-to-day living, your relationships, your finances, and your mindset. You will begin to notice things do not swing from one extreme to another yet stay more on an even plane. You begin to grow stronger and become reliable and responsible. When the storms hit, and they will, you will be able to face them with a courage that has replaced your fear. We don’t get so high we lose sight of our path nor do we get to low where we go underground and become a victim of our own thinking. Balance brings with it the ability to accept life on life’s terms and to really go big in the things that truly matter.

Find your balance by setting a routine. Create a circle of people you trust, who have what you want, and use them to help keep you accountable. Take the time to explore what sets you on fire, your passions. Take the time to take care of you. Above all, work your program. Keep it number one on your priority list. Practice these things with all the diligence and effort that we used and drank with. They will bring our lives into alignment and balance which enables us to live on purpose. Instead of a mindset of “go big or go home”, we begin to do the best with what comes to us each day. We begin to build a foundation for living life as we dreamed we could. We become consistent and able to hit any pitch that is thrown to us. Then when life throws us the heat, right down the middle, we rip that sucker right out of the park.

How do you maintain balance in your recovery? Leave me a comment.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Hey Kip!

    This one definitely resonates with me a good deal. I’m also very much an all or nothing kind of guy. That middle road, the one of balance you describe, is still pretty elusive to me. But it’s definitely the path forward in recovery. And, like you say, a healthy life is all about finding that balance.

    I’d say my routines help me a lot. I remember in rehab, early on in recovery, the counselors rules were to make your bed every day. I couldn’t believe how good it felt to make my bed in the morning. And the consistency of doing it helped my recovery. So I guess I’ll float the routine idea out there. Looking forward to our talk at the end of the month!

    • Thanks for the comment Mark. Always full of wisdom. I am looking forward to that live as well. Thanks for always being someone that inspires and sets a good example.

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