Jumping When You Are Ambivalent about Recovery & Life Change

I can remember feeling comfortable living the way I was living. Of course, I wouldn’t describe my life as full or my feelings as content or joyous, because it was all the exact opposite. Still, I was comfortable being there. I mean, there was zero possibility of letting anyone down.

Not even I could manage to fuck-up being a fuck-up.

I continued to lived in that comfortable place for a few years, and at a certain point (one that could be described as one of the most dire, lonely, empty times of my life), the idea of changing began to look and sound really, really good to me.

Not plausible, but good.
Not likely, but still, good.
And that was a step in the right direction.

Even after I felt motivation to move toward change, I still took my sweet time, struggling &  battling within myself. I was reluctant to put any kind of intentional effort into initiating any sort of real changes. I could best describe it as a confusing, permanent state of confusion; in an ambivalent head space that affected every area of my life.

What I projected on the outside did not match how I felt inside. (Or maybe, at some point toward the end, I looked just as confused, disheveled and miserable as I felt on the inside. That’s probably right).

I wanted to feel connected and people to care about me.
But I also wanted to be left alone and for people to stop asking me questions.

I wanted to feel genuinely happy and free to be myself.
But I was also afraid of sorting through the buried pain.

I tried to do everything that I could to feel alive, to remind myself that I was still a human.
Yet I continued to hide, numbing every human feeling that I possibly could.

I wanted connection. I wanted to be seen and heard and felt and needed.
But I also wanted to be left alone and for people to stop asking me questions.

I wanted people to hear my silent screams and to see the pain in my eyes.
But I also wanted people to leave me the fuck alone and stop asking me questions.

I wanted to feel what triumph, normalcy, calm, victory, and contentment felt like.
But I also didn’t have an ounce of personal confidence in my body.

I wanted other people to believe in me and to see that I could change.
But I couldn’t believe in myself, and didn’t believe that I was capable of changing.

I was stuck and I didn’t know how to move forward.

I felt like I was swaying back and forth all of the time from feeling tired, depleted, and sick of letting myself and my son and the people who loved me down, to feeling too afraid to fail yet I yearned for rest and change.

Now I understand that my ambivalence stemmed from my own internal fears.

I feared that I wasn’t good enough to have real friends or relationships, or deep connections.
I feared that I wasn’t strong enough to live a sober life, and I feared that maybe I just wasn’t good enough to deserve a new lifestyle.

Two things really helped me get un-stuck, so that I felt comfortable enough to begin my recovery journey:

A solid, healthy support system.

For me that was my boyfriend, his mother, and my home group, Celebrate Recovery.
Motivation is a key to change, it is multi-dimensional, and it also fluctuates. I needed to have people all around me to encourage me and to be there for me when I felt my confidence wavering, or when my self-doubt started to crush me.
No old friends, or people whose intentions weren’t pure or unselfish. Just a bunch of people I barely knew who were ready to talk to me, who wanted to speak love into my heart, and not talk at me. People who didn’t have any motives other than wanting to see me experience freedom and peace so that I could be the woman and mom that I desperately wanted to be.

I learned something important, that I hadn’t realized before: that change is a process.
This is simple but it helped calm my reluctance to try to give recovery a shot.
I went in with the understanding that I wouldn’t accept this help I was being offered and somehow magically wake up the next day with a clear sense of self, and zero feelings of uneasiness. I would wake up the next day expecting to feel the pain that I knew was coming, but I would wake up with a plan. I would wake up knowing that I was working on my new life. I would wake up and I would start making small changes. I would make new decisions, and different choices. Everything that I was going to do would be better alternatives to what I was used to. Nothing was going to be perfect, just better. Knowing this truth made the whole thing feel more do-able and a lot less overwhelming.

Some call it a leap of faith or taking the plunge.
Call it what you want.
It is just this huge space of the unknown, where most of us jump because it is all that is left.

If you are on the fence, I highly recommend getting down, and gearing up for the jump.
It’s better over here.


Tell me how you're feeling.

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