There is part of me that (foolishly) believes being in recovery should make me exempt from struggle. Not the everyday issues we all got through, but the big stuff. A tiny part of my brain believes that after pulling myself out of the mire of addiction and hopelessness, I should get a break from now on. I went through hell, I survived, and from now on it will all be easy and sunny.
Life, of course, has other plans.
Shit happens. It is unavoidable and the test of our mettle is not that we avoid it, but how well we deal with and overcome it. My brain knows this, but my heart howls like a wounded puppy whenever a sudden and unexpected hardship appears on our horizon.
Last week my husband got laid off. This happens to people all over the country all the time. Luckily he’s eligible for unemployment, we have a 401k cushion to fall on, and he has skills that are in demand in today’s workplace. We have options, unlike so many others. We’re lucky.
It just doesn’t feel that way. All of my planning and over-preparing couldn’t prevent this from happening and although I am putting one foot in front of the other and taking all of the rational steps, inside my head I’m curled up in a ball crying “It’s not fair! We’ve already been tested! We get a pass!”
Only of course we don’t. There’s no threshold to the number of challenges we will face, and climbing one mountain doesn’t render the terrain flat for the rest of our lives.
I think it’s the uncertainty that takes me back to a place when my future was unclear and felt foreboding. And that scares me.
On the other hand it’s my recovery that keeps me from properly moping. I can’t hide in bed feeling sorry for myself when I have learned the importance of doing the next right thing and taking it one day at a time.
So the trauma of the past makes this setback all the more painful, but it also gives me the strength to push through it.
And push through it we will. Onward through the fog, preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Because that’s what we do in this messy, imperfect life.