Recovery is a Journey, not a Destination

Hitting bottom is often associated with someone struggling through addiction. And no matter how low, the low may not be low enough for him/her to make that decision to change things. They may lose things held dear: a job, family, friends, a relationship, even their health and well-being or ultimately, their life. Watching the addict fumble as the chaos unfolds, we may find ourselves spinning around that chaos. Perhaps a long-held pattern developed from our family of origin as we saw a parent use substances like alcohol, drugs, sex, food or gambling to salve their pain. Maybe we even rescued our parent from their disarray because that was the role we assumed. We were born into rescuing by virtue of not knowing any better.

When we think it cannot get any worse, the addict in our lives acts up or acts out...again! We may find ourselves getting close to or hitting our own bottom. We want to throw in the towel, but something inside tells us we haven't done everything we can. We must try harder. If only we do this, then the addict will do that—they will change. The reality is the first thing we learn in recovery: how powerless we are. We cannot control or cure something we did not cause. We must step back, detach, and in effect, work our own recovery journey that doesn't necessarily have a final destination.
Working recovery from the affects of someone else's addiction is a daily practice. Sometimes it's even a practice right in the moment. Recovery involves calling upon all the tools available to us, our inner resources, because as twelve-step recovery programs say: "Let it begin with me." And that is the only place from which we can start to work—from the bottom up—that place of deep pain compelling us to take action. The real journey begins when honesty with the self takes root and we are ready to transcend our pain.

Seeking recovery? Try these tools:
  1. Recognize the craziness and name it if you can, then step away—take a HUGE step back
  2. Begin with yourself: notice the foundation on which your bottom rests and look for ways to rebuild from the ground up
  3. Connect with a recovery program (12-Step group, support group)
  4. Be honest with yourself; dare to look at your pain
  5. Enjoy the ride because the journey is all about your discoveries along the way
  6. Above all, be gentle and patient with yourself  
Sometimes our bottom is limitless; other times our bottom comes up to meet us. Hence, the potential for recovery. And eventually we come to recognize that recovery is a journey. It's like one long train ride with numerous stops, giving us the opportunity to visit the many diversely interesting places of our own self and soul, without ever disembarking at a final destination. While the train ride never ends, we'll simply be richer for taking it.

What insights have you encountered along your recovery journey?

Seeking accompaniment through recovery? Empowerment coaching/transition partnering can hold you through your journey of the self. Call for a free discovery session: 514.996.2414


  1. WOW! Another insightful post, Kelly. So much wisdom, girl. Thanks for sharing it with us. By the way, I love the title of your post ;)

  2. Appreciating your generous comments, Claudia--thank you! That title had been playing in my head for awhile now. It became clear to me that anything in life that is worthwhile, is what we work slowly, diligently and deliberately at, while letting it go. And so this post was born.


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