Whenever I learn a new piece of music, I don’t try to learn the whole thing at once. Music is often so complex that it can overwhelm me if I try to take it on all at the same time. Rather, I approach the music in sections and work on each section until I get it right. Some sections may take longer than others to learn, but I follow this approach until I’ve gone through the entire piece of music and then I put it all together. It takes time and commitment, but if I find the focus and patience within myself, I can enjoy the music when it all comes together.
Recovery is similar. If we ask that someone who struggles with alcohol or drugs to have a completely healthy life all at once, it’s possible that we’re setting up limits before we can even get started learning what that person may need. Addiction leads to so many problems that it can be overwhelming to even think of them in one sitting.
When someone starts the path towards recovery, he or she must understand that recovery takes time and along the path there will be bumps in the road. It may seem simpler to say, “If you want recovery, don’t use.” But, my experience is that drugs and alcohol tend to be the symptom and not the cause. AA has the term, “Dry Drunk:” Even if a person stops drinking, he or she can still be thinking and behaving in ways that causes problems.
It takes small steps towards a goal to realize success. Recovery is no different. While we may all want immediate results, without patience and focused effort, we will limit ourselves from enjoying the fruits of our labors. We live in a world of instant gratification; we need to slow down and commit to long-term gain and accept bumps in the road as part of our learning. Otherwise we risk losing all that we could gain.