"How will I know how to find balance?" I asked her. "Only you and your Higher Power will know the answer to that." This caused me to stop and look at my life in a whole new light. Was I balanced and what did that mean? How could I find balance while addiction was still causing such harm in my family?
What Did I Juggle
As I explored my life for balance I first had to think about what was in my life that I would need to balance:
- Family (Adult children and the impact on me of their addictions)
- Household chores
- Social Life
- Grieving (Yes, after 8 years I still needed to grieve the passing of my husband from the disease of alcohol substance use)
All these came to mind as I pondered how to find my balance. The list seemed overwhelming and I wasn't sure even how to begin to juggle everything.
I found following my resentments turned out to be a trail marked by red flags showing me what was out of balance.
I began to see how my Fun and Social Life were getting less and less time while Household chores and Work were taking more. I was not happy that I spent my weekends cleaning my home while other people in the house went out to have fun. As I looked further at my list I saw my desire to learn all about Nutrition was taking up more time while my Spiritual and Meditation were getting lost in the daily shuffle. I used to walk on the beach, birdwatch, and exercise in my free time, but now food has become my occupation. I talk about food, and think about it, etc. etc. Have I become obsessed with food? And yes, food can cause anxiety. So what's happening inside?
Spotting Addiction's Toll
Addiction and the death of a loved one have affected me and my children deeply. In order to appear normal and handle the insanity of living with the disease of addiction, our family had stopped feeling most emotions. In recovery, I am learning how to feel again in order to know what I truly want. How could I even begin to find balance without knowing what I want? It's not so simple as choosing activities because what I want can change from week to week. Feeling okay about myself and what's happening around me is the core of recovery, and brings the serenity I need to flourish. For me, recovery is being able to feel the good, the bad, and the hope that nourishes the soul. Recovery is accepting the discomfort of painful feelings that accompany substance use behaviors in people I love. For me, balance means finding the resources to let go of the pain and rise above it. When I know what I love to do, and don't love to do; what's good for me and what isn't, I can shift my priorities and activities.
Fitting Everything Into One Life
I needed to learn to pay attention to the signs from my body, mind, and soul to know which part of me needs attention on a day by day basis. Trial and error has helped me to create a daily recipe that works to keep my life and spirit in balance. For me the key is to be flexible and realistic.
Balance is getting what you need when you need it.
I am in charge of my schedule, and it is vital that I continue to strive to find balance. Some days I need to spend more time Meditating and Exercising while other days I can have Fun and complete a few Household Chores. The secret for me is to check in with my Higher Power and myself each day to see what is needed and give myself permission to do what is necessary to keep my life balanced.
If you are having trouble with finding balance in your life and want to find a support team of addiction specialists in your area check out Recovery Guidance's locator of all the resources you need to heal.
A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Madeline Schloop