I heard a phrase the other day. I wasn’t paying attention so I do not recall where I heard it, but the phrase struck me. The person speaking said the group of people they were referencing were “too busy surviving to dream”. For some reason, the term really resonated with me. It made me think of so many things.
When RPSV was founded, the founders created an organization to help individuals trying to achieve recovery. They knew that, unless a person’s basic needs were met, recovery was nearly impossible. I think that is profound. It really speaks to the term, “too busy surviving to dream”.
Imagine being homeless. Living in the woods, in your car, under bridges, on your friend’s couch, on a grate in DC, and not knowing where your next meal is coming from. Would you spend time dreaming instead of trying to survive?
Imagine being so desperate for a drink to soothe your nerves that you would do nearly anything to get one. Imagine being addicted to a substance to the point that it was harming your health yet you did not care because it helped soothe your nerves and allowed you to self-medicate to escape what was bothering you for just a little while. Would you spend time dreaming instead of trying to survive?
Imagine having the colossal stress of potentially being evicted from your home, not being able to make your next car or heating bill payment, and all the worry associated with that. Would you spend time dreaming instead of trying to survive?
Imagine dreaming when any of these scenarios were your reality.
So many of us complain (I am guilty of it myself) when we should really relish in every little thing. The adage, “it can always be worse” is so true. In recovery one of the questions that is posed often to those trying to move forward in life is, “what are you grateful for?” When you live a life full of gratitude you look at the brighter side of situations, no matter how dire. It can certainly be difficult to do at times because life can pile things on now and then. But, looking for the positive changes your mindset. It helps uplift you. It helps you move forward when you would rather stay in your safe place and wallow in the space that feels comfortable and familiar.
My best friend and I had a conversation last night that frustrated me to the point where I cried while talking to her. She has depression. I have known her for most of her life and know what she is capable of. She continually says “I can’t”, “I don’t think I can do it”, “I’m scared”. I respect where she is emotionally and what she is going through. But I also know her well enough to know she can and she does have what it takes. I tell her often that everyone is scared at times. I’m scared about certain things in my future as well, but I encourage her to remember she has to try or she will be stuck in this place of helplessness and self-doubt forever. For every one of us, overcoming our inner saboteur is challenging but we must for our mental health and future happiness! Overcoming it helps make recovery possible.
Right now, with COVID-19, none of us know what is coming down the pike. There are just so many uncertainties on top of the traditional ones we are used to. Staying the course, looking for the positive, making goals, and working toward them every day are all steps that help with recovery. All of us must forge forward and adapt to whatever life brings our way, no matter how overwhelming. Giving up is often more appealing than putting in the work, but we can all overcome that desire!
Martin Luther King, Jr., has a quote that really speaks to me, especially in times like we are living in now. He says, “Faith is taking the first step when you cannot see the whole staircase.” Putting your toe in the water. Taking baby steps. Working toward an end goal…and dreaming will make your recovery possible. It is truly a day-to-day effort. Some days will be better than others. But life is doable!
For people in recovery, it is important to have faith in the process. Believing you can recover and that you are worth the effort is half the battle (mind over matter). Believe it – because you absolutely can and you so totally are! And, if you “mess up”, “land where you fall”, get up and try again tomorrow. “Shampoo, rinse, repeat”, right? Giving up is simply not an option.
Remember to take stock of every moment. Be grateful for every little thing you do each day to better yourself. Don’t gloss over the good decision you are making! For example, if you called RPSV’s Warm Line when you were feeling super anti-social, joined one of RPSV’s virtual support groups and shared what you are going through with attendees without fear of judgment, or decided to make a healthy choice for dinner instead of eating Ben & Jerry’s and Cheetos (I am speaking from experience), celebrate it! Be grateful for every option you have and the good choices you make.
Always count your blessings and remember those who are going through challenges bigger than your own. Sadly, there is always someone struggling more than us. Support them. When we focus on helping others it not only makes a true difference in their lives, but it also helps us. Selflessness is a great trait we all need to practice more.
Recovery is possible. RPSV is here to help you. Our programs are free. You just need to take that first step and reach out! Learn more at RPSVA.org or by calling us at (800) 374-4198 today. You’ve got this!