We live in a world that is easily and often offended. This is a hard concept because we have been trained to exaggerate our concerns, work up our distress and assertively communicate each and every trivial fault that comes our way. We are not told that these things are small; we are led to believe that each one is a big deal.
Even More So in Recovery
Our training from the world around us sets us up to feel slighted, snubbed, and insulted at every turn. Added to that, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol heightens our sensitivity. Every nerve is burning and only serves to fuel the already intense need to get things our way and complain loudly when we do not. Recovery, too, is a sharp departure from the recent path we were on. This brings unfamiliar feelings and increased discomfort. Part of our recovery journey requires that we develop a thicker skin, be more accepting, and have increased patience with others.
- People are stupid!
- I should get what I want, when I want it!
- I was right, they were wrong!
- There should be a separate traffic lane for idiots!
- I can’t stand being treated this way!
- This is unfair!
- They got better treatment than I did!
Learning to Tolerate Frustration
“A monumentally important piece of recovery and a huge predictor of recovery success is developing the ability to tolerate the difficult, endure the frustrating, and accept the unpleasant.”
The fact that you were slighted or overlooked is not a sufficient reason to react with immaturity. Of course you were mistreated, disrespected, and forced to wait. Of course the copier didn’t work, the light was red, the water was cold, it was raining, and the car needed gas. Of course service was slow and your time was wasted. A monumentally important piece of recovery and a huge predictor of recovery success is developing the ability to tolerate the difficult, endure the frustrating, and accept the unpleasant. Instead of grabbing a drink, looking for an easy way out, or giving yourself permission to be upset, develop the skill to tolerate the discomforts that so often come your way.
It is All Downhill
Let it go.
Work it down.
Keep it in perspective.
Develop a positive attitude.
See it from another’s viewpoint.
Knowing What is Important
The relationship you have with family and friends is far more important than registering your offense, declaring disrespect, or labeling the faults of others. Give up on trying to get what you want by constantly expressing frustration. Instead, when difficulties arise, practice letting go of the offense, overlooking slights, and forgiving mistakes. As you practice these things you will get stronger, feel more in control, and gain the life you deserve.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!