Alison's Insights

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

What Plates Need Spinning

There are days when I feel like I’m part of a spinning plate variety act, dashing from one stick to the other so that no plate crashes to the floor. The sticks and plates represent areas of my life. I put my attention on one only to find another wobbling. Back and forth I go, hoping I don’t let anything hit the ground.


Yet, sometimes things do. Sometimes they should. Sometimes, despite my deepest desire to control a balanced spin, my forced attempt only makes matters worse. Even though I learned the reasons why forcing things is never a good idea, there are days when I can’t bear the thought I messed up.

But, did I? Was that plate meant to fall? Do I give too much of my time and attention to things that are better left alone? Should my focus be elsewhere?

Long-term recovery and never-ending self-analysis prove the answer to all the above is, yes. I forget that perhaps things fall because they are not meant for me to manage.

When my life seems overwhelming and there are more plates than patience, more sticks than time, I take a deep breath, remember I’m not meant to spin anything alone and let fall what’s not necessary.

What’s left is what needs my attention.

I’m grateful that today there are fewer sticks with plates on top than when I thought more was better. If I had more things to deflect my attention I wouldn’t need to focus on the reasons why too much alcohol and not enough food would be reliable solutions for life’s ups and downs.

A Moment to Breathe

Consider how many plates you spin. Is something calling for your attention even as you read this? Do you find yourself feeling scattered no matter how hard you try to stay in the moment? At the end of the day, are you exhausted from the plates you kept from falling? Take a slow deep breath. Allow yourself time to consider where your focus is needed. Do you add plates to avoid pain? Are you afraid someone might see you as a failure? Take another deep breath. The only failure any of us will ever be is when we fail to take care of ourselves. Balance the plates that keep you most alive and let others fall. Once they do, you can exhale with a sense of peace that all is well.


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One thought on “What Plates Need Spinning

  1. Claudia H Donohue on said:

    A perfect thought provocation for me at this time, especially with the holidays rapidly approaching. Thanks for reminding me!

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