Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

Like A Duck On Water

Several years ago, a client of mine said, “Alison, you are like a duck moving along in the water. You appear so calm and move along smoothly yet I know, underneath, your feet are going a hundred miles an hour.”

Boy, was he right. I was working, providing, answering, fixing, and finishing everything, assuring it was done on time, in place, in order and complete. Why?   Simple.   It was the only way I knew of to feel accomplished.

Moreover, I wanted to make sure it appeared to all who looked into my life (personally and professionally) that I could do anything. I never let it be known what all I had to do, what personal sacrifices I had to endure, or what self-destructive behaviors I needed to engage in to keep myself from falling apart.

To anyone looking into my life, it would have appeared I had it all and, perhaps more importantly, had it all together.

The truth of the matter is this. I didn’t have anything together.  Far from it. I was nonstop.  I gave everything I had for others and gave nothing to myself. How could I? My desire to please, take care of, be loved, be accepted, and be successful, trumped my health and my sanity.

It was only a matter of time before all it would come crashing down.

And it did.

Everything started crashing down all around me. I kept thinking I could hide it just like I was hiding my self-destructive behaviors. But it was too late. There was no way I could continue to hide how much of a mess my life had become. It was at that point I realized the only way to clean up my mess was recovery.

Eventually a duck stops peddling and allows the flow of the water to move it along.

For me, that’s what accepting recovery was all about.   It wasn’t easy, but I had to stop pushing against the current and let the flow of recovery move me along.

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