Alison's Insights

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

I’ve Never Felt So Tired

“Honey, I’m so tired I could wipe the floor with myself ”

When my Mom said this to me the other day I smiled.  I like smiling when I talk with my Mom.  It wasn’t always that way with us but then again most things in my life aren’t the same as they were before.

After hanging up from talking with my Mom, I thought about the last time I felt that tired; the last time any flat surface would provide welcome relief.

The hands-down answer would be when I went through the first year of recovery from addiction.  I’m not referring to the very beginning when I was under the watchful eyes of treatment center professionals.  They told me because my body was going through a major adjustment period due to withdrawal in 2002 and then the re-feeding process in 2008, I could expect to feel quite fatigued.

OK, that made sense but why, in the months that followed did I feel, as my friend Jennifer would say, “gobsmacked” by exhaustion.  I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open at the end of the day.

Well my friends, here’s the truth.  The recovery journey is draining way beyond the physical.  Recovery requires a complete overhaul of what had been considered “normal” for a life driven by an obsessed mind.  The areas I needed to review and renew were emotional, mental, spiritual as well as physical.

In my case, it was extraordinarily difficult to reboot and reconsider how I viewed, reacted and interacted with just about every possible issue I encountered.  It’s not a simple, “gee, guess I had that wrong” or “gosh, that really was out of line; I shouldn’t have handled myself that way.”  No, it was so much more than that to which I can’t  possibly give justice in this blog post.

The mental and emotional “work” needed to uncover what kept me living off of chardonnay and little else was not an easy task.  In those early days of recovery it was more than looking at what happened in 4th grade or what didn’t happen in high school.  It gets to the point where one needs to fully accept it all, forgive it all and ultimately shift into a place of peace about it all.  I assure you, none of this is an overnight sensation.

Recovery takes time.  Period.

No matter how it happened, I didn’t become an addicted woman in an instant so it’s rather unrealistic to think I could turn my life around in flash either.  Foundational recovery is a mixture of unconditional willingness, action steps and a generous dose of mental/emotional energy regardless of how tired or drained one might feel.  Yet through it all, to stop is not the answer, breathing is.  As clarity is regained the desire to forge on resumes.  If rest is indeed needed, someone much wiser will make that suggestion.  Wait for that.  It’s best not to make decisions like that in isolation.

Today when my amazingly courageous recovering friends talk about their level of fatigue, I salute them.  Whether they know it or not, being tired is a sure sign they’re well on the way out of their own living hell.

Have you felt this kind of exhaustion?  If so, share it here by leaving a comment.

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One thought on “I’ve Never Felt So Tired

  1. Tonell Jones on said:

    I have felt this exhaustion for about a two weeks now!! I really can’t say how relieving it is to read this blog, because I don’t like to sleep in late, or have others think “she is so lazy”. But, lately, it’s all I can do to get up and get dressed and go places, and be sociable! My spirit isn’t as tired as the rest of me. I’m just drained in SO many ways, and I feel like I’ve been in a fog lately. My therapist has been bringing up some key deep-rooted issues that essentially caused my eating disorder, and while it is great to talk things out, and make the connections that never cease to surprise me at just how obvious they are, it takes it out of me. So, this blog post really inspires me not to give up, and not allow this to be something I allow Edie to beat me up for!

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