There are no drive-thru breakthroughs. Breakthroughs take time – Joyce Meyer
Breakthroughs start with two things: our perspective on what is important, and the meaning we give an event. If my perspective is that I am successful in my recovery when I receive a year coin, then when I get that coin, I will see this as a breakthrough. However, it is not the only breakthrough that took place leading to that event. When we only focus on the big events, we tend to overvalue the events and undervalue the hard work and effort that brought us there.
I’ll share a personal example with you. During this past December, I got married and had a big wedding. When people think wedding, they think of the big moment of love when family and friends come together. They don’t think of all the hours of folding papers, writing lists, or googling what color dresses will match Irish bells the best while managing multiple opinions and trying not to turn into bridezilla.
The idea of taking on a task of planning a big event with deadlines, major expenses, and multiple moving parts was daunting. I have a Type B personality: I’m more laid back, have an organized chaos way of managing, and a tendency to go with the flow. If I only focused on the big success of the wedding, I would not have viewed my other smaller successes. I made lists, followed a plan, and stuck to a budget. Being so organized made me feel like I could take on the world. It made my wedding, which was already the big special day in my mind, even better. I was proud that this Type B organized and planned a pretty awesome day.
In recovery, if we are looking at only the big moments or the big milestones we miss the mini breakthroughs that happen every day. When you really think of it, those big breakthroughs, such as one year of sobriety, are made up of all the little breakthroughs you had every day. When we do the next right thing, that is a breakthrough. When we decide to be mindful, that is a breakthrough. When we use a relapse prevention skill we learned, it’s a breakthrough.
If we focus solely on the one event, what happens when that event is over? The importance of living in the present and recognizing the mini breakthroughs is that is help us greater enjoy the sobriety we have created.