The Hard Road to a Happy Life
At Adam Banks Recovery, we have traveled the hard road to a happy life, and understand that it is not easy. I have noticed a few emotional patterns while helping people through their early days of recovery. It help to point them out to show those in recovery that they are not alone as the “trudge” towards a better way of living.
Sobriety is boring.
During the time the person is drinking or using, it’s easy for the hours of the day to disappear. Time is slippery when you’re buzzed. In early sobriety, not only do they realize how much more time they have every day, they feel every minute.
As I work with a new clients, I don’t shy away from talking about the monotony of recovery. There were times that using was a lot of fun; we had wild, drug-fueled nights and it’s important to remember the “good times.”
But we have to acknowledge that the good times existed only at a time and place in our lives. Personally, I loved college. It was a good time, and it existed at a certain point in my life.
I look at my using the same way. It existed in my late 20s and early 30s. I decided I didn’t want that use to continue into my 40s and 50s, so I took the necessary actions to get sober and maintain long term recovery.
Longing for the Good Old Days
If I’m being honest, at times I wax wistfully for my good old party days, but I also don’t want to return to them. I had to close the door on my use, just like college. In a sense, I had to graduate and move on.
Continuing to use drugs in my life would be the equivalent of me staying at school forever; sure it would be fun, but it wouldn’t lead me where I want to go in life.
In AA, there is a saying, “we are trudging the road of happy destiny.” I love that word, trudge. There are a lot of aspects to life where I feel I’m trudging through. Hence, I don’t like cooking dinner or going to the grocery store, but I trudge through these tasks because they support my best life in recovery.
In the process of recovery, It’s important to both acknowledge the loss of using and that we now get to experience life in a new way. Entering into recovery, I made the conscious decision to show up for every moment of my life and keep the past in the past.
I know that anytime I’m comparing my daily activities to the “good old days,” I have to remind myself that those days existed then and they can’t exist now. Otherwise, I’m entering into a dangerous territory.
Appreciate the Little Things
Some days, I’ll be unloading the dishwasher or folding laundry only to notice the monotony of recovery. In those moments, I remind myself that I get to do those tasks today. I get to show up for others and contribute to the stability of my family.
It’s hard at times as I drive to Costco to not think back to how fun life used to be. Other times, my suburban, middle-class life feels unbelievable.
How did I, a hard partier, end up a middle-of-the-road dad? At home, I’m the one who takes the dog out, fixes the plumbing, and financially supports our family.
Even on the tough days, I’m honored I can handle all those things. I’m committed to my family and keeping that commitment means more to me than any drink or drug.
Getting used to sobriety may feel boring. I draw a parallel between using drugs to amusement parkas. Both seem fun at first, but once we feel we cant leave they quickly become a nightmare.
Consequently, we enjoy the ride and move on to the next thing. Our experience becomes a memory, not a way of life.
About Adam Banks
Adam Banks is a certified interventionist and the owner of Adam Banks Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.
Today, Adam is dedicated to helping others achieve long-term sobriety. His work has guided executives, pilots, and physicians on paths to recovery. Adam brings families together through a loving and inclusive approach.
Adam has authored four books on addiction. His recent work, Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery, educates families on the entire intervention process. He also offers a free video course for families considering an intervention for a loved one.
Adam is available for alcohol and drug intervention services in New York, Long Island, the Hamptons as well as nationally and internationally.