We go through a lot of changes when we get clean and sober. After all, our whole world is turned around. We go from total self-involvement to learning to depend on and to help others. Our priorities shift from finding mood-altering chemicals to trying to get them mostly out of our minds. We begin to look at our past realistically, and we start learning to forgive ourselves and move on with our lives.
We also have post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) to deal with. Those issues can range from an inability to sit still and think about much of anything, to depression — occasionally both in the same person. They are caused by changes in our brain as it repairs itself and returns to something like normal, and they can go on for months, alternating relatively good periods with some pretty uncomfortable times. But millions have gotten through PAWS successfully. With the help of our program, so can we.
Recovery takes time. Getting to something like normal takes time. And time takes time. We are accustomed to getting what we want when we want it, and having immediate results from the getting. Suddenly we are being told that we’re “right where you’re supposed to be,” and we don’t like hearing it one bit. We still what what we want, when we want it. As the old joke goes, “God, please grant me the gift of patience…right now!”
So it’s not too surprising that we find ourselves unable to focus on spiritual things. In fact, our concepts of spirituality may themselves be undergoing changes, and considering the other changes happening in our lives, that’s hardly a surprise either.
The best thing for us to do is follow suggestions, remember that we have the rest of our lives to develop both our sobriety and a spiritual way of life, and simply not worry about it for the time being. If we get up in the morning with the realization that we’re not hurting, and are grateful for it; if we try to do the next right thing as often as we can; if we sit down at the end of the day, consider our successes and failures, and remember that we have tomorrow to improve; if we remember to be thankful for a day without getting high and the prospect of another one tomorrow, then we have done all we need to do to insure that our spiritual life will develop, in it’s own time.
Just like recovery, spiritual growth is a process, not an event.