Slam the Door on Those Pesky Recovery Setbacks

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A couple of weeks ago, I flew to Florida for a hearing to terminate my probation. Given the numerous curve balls I’d been thrown while in the system, I knew this situation wouldn’t be any different.

Sure enough, the day before my hearing, I was notified that I’d unexpectedly been reassigned to a new judge – one who was notorious for doling out the harshest sentences in the circuit. I was crushed by this news, but by Monday morning, I’d made peace with receiving a win or a loss as I walked into the courtroom.

Instead, my new judge refused to hand down a verdict, and ordered me to return in a couple of month so the original judge could hear my case. I’d have to go through the whole process all over again. Talk about a punch to the gut.

So…That Happened

I’ve learned that life seldom goes the way we want (especially while in recovery). We have to learn how to manage these bumps in the road if we want to maintain our sobriety.

Here’s a couple of tips I’ve picked up a along the way to cultivate resilience:

  • Focus on the Positive

    When anything bad happens, I stop and reflect on any good that can come out of it. For example, my recent court fiasco. Instead of dwelling on the money I spent to get out there or lamenting that my life was going to remain on hold, I focused on the fact that I’d survived the hearing and I’d even seen a couple of college friends.



    Training your brain to focus on the positive of every situation, rather than the negative, becomes contagious, and you gain strength from those experiences, which can be used later down the road.


  • Have an Attitude of Gratitude

    Whenever I receive a negative outcome, I automatically think of how much worse that situation could’ve been. This way of thinking helped immensely when I went to prison, since I knew I could’ve killed someone the night of my accident. Not only would I have had to live with that the rest of my life, I would’ve had to serve a whole lot more prison time. Suddenly, when viewed through this lens, my plight didn’t seem so insurmountable.



    Keeping the right perspective during setbacks helps you take stock of the positives in your life; perspective can also help you acknowledge the love and support of others.


  • The Power Lies Within Yourself, Not Anyone Else

    In recovery, it’s important to realize you – and you alone – have the power to shape your life. No matter how tough life gets, remember, that you have the tools and the strength to overcome anything.

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