READ IT TO ME: Click play to listen to this post.

“There’s paradise and cold harsh reality, recovery is somewhere in the middle.” — KW

If you are an addict you have experienced dreams destroyed, hope dashed with disappointment, and a faded future because of failure all perpetrated by powerlessness to the junkie worm that dominates your behavior. During the initial stage of recovery, the chaos comes to a stop. The focus is to wake up, be grateful you are alive, call your sponsor and program people, do the Steps, and go to recovery meetings.  Then keep repeating the same steps day after day. 

Eventually, life begins to fill up again. There’s the job that needs you to be a responsible adult who can be counted on. There are family obligations—being a responsible partner and parent. There are relationship conflicts, physical challenges, and frozen emotions that begin to thaw and show up at the most inappropriate times. Financial pressures close in and dominate you with worry and stress. Soon you are facing the same world you knew before you surrendered to treatment and asked for help.

Even in recovery, there are times when life seems to be a vice grip that closes in on you. How do you find what matters most in the presence of these demands and challenging moments? 

1. Don’t forget that what gets in the way of confidence, clarity, and closeness IS the way! When you are sidetracked, your sidetrack IS the main track. It’s just that you did not anticipate nor plan for it to be. Yet, the universe has a clear purpose and intent for you to experience a derailing from what you initially planned.  You lament that if this negative event had not happened or if this new challenge had not appeared, you would be well on your way to fulfilling your deepest dream. But, there is a lesson to learn that can only be taught through what is described as unfortunate distraction. When you let go of the controls and embrace the unplanned experience, you will gain confidence and clarity about the role your detour plays toward self-fulfillment. Releasing and letting go to the universe will help you experience what matters most in your life. In this manner what gets in the way truly BECOMES the way for unplanned closeness toward self and others. 

2. Grief strips away everything that does not matter! You can become so intent on the goal that you have worked toward or so in love with the dream that you miss out on the deeper insights and lessons that life has to teach. Grief has a way of stopping you in your tracks. What had always seemed so important becomes so insignificant when the tentacles of grief wrap around your broken heart. You can become tunnel-visioned and insist on what you want and where you think you need to go. When your accelerator is floored and stuck you are likely to deny and become blind that what life has to bring IS the next step. Grief is a way for the universe to get your attention. Take time to know that being alive, connected to yourself and to those who love you is what really matters. Grief is used as a way of getting your attention to this fundamental truth.

3. Emptying from past experiences, positive or negative, is necessary before beginning again. It is true that yesterday ended last night! But, before you turn the page and move forward, take time to empty your heart and mind from past experience. Clear your head so that you can focus on the next challenge in recovery. A cluttered mind will prevent you from focusing on what matters most. 

4. Release your tight grip on controlling outcomes and ground yourself in your heart. Perspective and needed wisdom come from your heart. You will lose yourself when you try to figure everything out in your head. Consciously shift your focus from your head and cultivate humility in your heart. Humility is like window cleaner. You will think more clearly when you strengthen your centeredness within your heart. 

5. Learn to be grateful for what is difficult.

Obstacles and struggle serve an important role toward fulfilling your destiny. Your destiny is all about breaking the ground of mature behavior that grows within your integrity and character. Gratitude for what is in the midst of misery and difficulty is necessary for finding your way to what matters most. 

Life has a way of bringing to you the sustenance you need for your personal growth. This nutrition and support is often unrecognized when it is presented as a detour or interruption to the plans you have already made. 

The things you often believe are most important and irreplaceable are often smashed to smithereens. Underneath the best laid plans is the sacred reality that the life force that exists within you is the most important focus of every day reality. It is this perspective that will guide you to find what matters most.