Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Balancing Work and Play in Recovery

I have to give myself this little reminder every day, ”Don’t miss summer.” That’s written on a sticky note in my calendar and in my very own voice on the micro recorder I use in my
car to track my “to-do” list as I drive.

Yes, perhaps you can see that Work is way ahead of Play in my life. I have an abundance of lists, reminders, recorders. It’s all about productivity. 

I’m looking more closely at that drive this year. I’ve finally come to see what others have seen: I work hard, I do a lot, and yes, I get a lot done. I neither defend or apologize for this part of me. I recognize that my super work ethic is a gift of recovery—and a consequence of the time before recovery. I’ve been making up for lost time for a long time.

I don’t regret the past—exactly. But I do wish I’d started writing earlier, and sending work out sooner, and getting published ages ago. Working hard at my career in nonprofits, and at my writing career brings me so much joy. 

There is a little bit of grief in this too. Back in the days before recovery, I was buried in both substances and in fear, and I couldn’t focus or dare, and couldn’t find what I now know to be my dharma.

But even in my hard-working, ultra-productivity, there is this voice in my ear this year that says: “Don’t miss summer.” 
Winters are long in Upstate New York, and my long recovery is stable. I can trust a day off now and then, or a weekend away, and I can trust that stepping away from my desk doesn’t mean that my writing will go down a ten-year rabbit hole as it did once long ago.

So, one gift of recovery is meeting my hard-working self, and the second gift is meeting that parallel part of me that I think can still learn to relax and play. And I want to do both of those this very summer.

Read more on making a life in long-term recovery in "Out of the Woods--A Guide to Long-term Recovery, published by Central Recovery Press.

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