Last night I stumbled. I gave in to the whispering call of escape. I felt weak, too many thoughts going around in my head, the first session with a new therapist, a sense of overwhelm and I panicked. Fell back to what I knew, sought an evenings escape in liquid form. Waking this morning, sore head and all, I felt a sense of regret for a moment, that I’m back to day one, that I gave in and wasn’t strong enough to resist.
Yes, I gave in, but only for a second, and then I poured the rest away. The relief of the first sip only lasted for a minute, the escape I sought never really came, and somewhere I found it in me to pour the rest down the sink. I stumbled but picked myself back up.
Now this morning, I’m trying not to be so hard on myself. Remembering that stumbles are all a part of my path, it won’t be straightforward and easy, because as the saying goes “smooth seas never made skilled sailors” [or something along those lines]. I’m seeing that there are lessons to be learned along the way. That when I stumble and pull myself back up, I get a little bit stronger. These blips in the road are sent to test me, even when I give in to them, getting up again shows how far I’ve come.
It’s easy to fall, to give up hope, to say ‘screw it’, I gave in I may as well carry on. Two glasses in last night, I could easily have kept going. That’s my usual pattern – I’ve started, so I’ll finish. Not one to give up – only now I’m turning that stubborness around, usuing it for self -preservation instead of self-destruction. Looking back, I can see how far I’ve come, even though somedays it doesn’t feel like it. I’m not the person I was four months ago, it’s been a long and bumpy road, but it’s shaping me into a better, stronger person.
Last night’s stumble might be the last one, it might not be. I’m taking each day as it comes, giving thanks for every day that I don’t trip, and when I do, giving myself the grace to get back up on my feet.
The most important lesson that I learnt last night is that it’s ok to stumble. It doesn’t mean I’ve failed, it doesn’t mean I have to fall of my path to recovery completely. Our failures often end up being our biggest lessons, the times we learn so much about ourselves. I learnt that I’m stronger than I think I am, even at my weakest I found the strenght to get back up again.
If you stumble, it’s OK. It’s not the end of your path, just a stone in the road.
Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and keep going.
Whatever path you’re on, whatever heartbreak, grief, sense of gutwrench, addiction, eating disorder, self-harm, whatever it is you’re seeking freedom from, know that stumbles are part of the way. Allow yourself the grace to fall once in a while, but always pick yourself back up and get back on the path. Dont’ let one stumble derail you, don’t give in and go backwards.
Two steps forwards, and one step back, is still moving forward. There is no rushing recoery, no ‘right’ speed to go at, no set timeline to follow. Recovery is not linear, it’s some crazed, tangled maze that you can only figure out as you go along it. Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off is amazing progress… that refusal to stay down is the first step to getting where you want to be.