Alison's Insights

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

Wait, Haven’t I Been Here Before?

Whether or not I knew this day was coming, I was preparing for it.  Like the distant thunder before an impending storm, a wave of panic has been building inside me for a while.

I’ve been working on a project which is now requiring me to step outside my comfort zone.

Gradually I’ve been resisting this.  Gradually I’ve been looking for ways to circumvent the needed actions.  Words and rationale have been formulating in my head validating why I don’t need to do what I know needs to be done.

Sure enough I had a meltdown this morning because I felt I was standing at a crossroad; either move toward this next level or give up.


My heart started to race.  Haven’t I’ve been here before?  Wasn’t this the kind of deflection used when I silently searched for that secret code to drink less and eat more while not having to do either? Isn’t this the same stream of consciousness I used to avoid the decision of either continuing to self-destruct or get help?

While I’m not trying to avoid something life-threatening, a life-long dream is being threatened.  I woke up this morning fully prepared to walk away from what I’ve been painstakingly working on for almost two years.  I was ready to tell everyone who loves me, just like so many other times in my life, I would be failing at something I swore I’d see to completion.  Once again I would only be going halfway.  Once again I’d prove to myself and everyone around me I’m not good enough.

Yet something inside reminded me that if I continued to hold myself mentally hostage by trying to solve my own problems with my own thinking, I’d just be running in circles.

I’ve learned through the program of recovery very few things I can be accomplished on my own.  My past proves mental and physical isolation is a straight line to painful living.  And very specifically, when I’m absolutely sure the only way to combat a situation is to take a dramatic left turn, my own judgment about that change is not to be depended on.  I need to get someone else’s viewpoint.

Sure enough when I turned around, there stood my husband with outstretched arms saying, “Uh oh, what’s going on?”

That was all I needed.  I burst into tears rapidly explaining I wanted to cut and run, feeling ill-equipped to continue with my project.

And just like when I was a little girl emotionally breaking down with my Dad, my husband uttered the same words my father would have.  He said, “Take a deep breath honey.  You’re going to be OK.”  As we talked through the things I would need to accomplish I began formulate a plan to take very small steps forward rather than giant leaps.

He knew as my father did that when I stand in resistance, proverbially kicking and screaming, I won’t get anywhere other than in a state of hyperventilation. I cannot think clearly when I’m anxious, upset, and panicky.  Yet when I slow my breathing down my racing thoughts begin to ease up, allowing me to understand the situation differently.

What I needed today was what I’ve always needed; a change in perspective.

So as the tears are drying and I’m breathing slowly, I sit here feeling refreshed and ready to move toward the completion of my project.


Think about what you may be resisting right now?  Is there something you need to do or say but are holding back because your rationale tells you to cut and run?  Try taking a deep breath and allow yourself a few minutes to reconsider the situation.   I’d love for you to share this experience by leaving a reply below. 

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2 thoughts on “Wait, Haven’t I Been Here Before?

  1. Alison, Just “stopping by” to reaffirm and encourage you – only sorry I’m a day late! Don

  2. Deja Vu in our MIND. . . dreams. . . we’ve all been mentally ‘stuck’. I find this even more so when observing those in a place that they want to get out of. Lucky, you have someone for reassurance, a lot of those human beings aren’t so lucky. Thanks for sharing.

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