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Addiction and Relationships: 3 Tips For Dealing With Uncertainty

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

3 tips for dealing with uncertainty

It’s been awhile since my partner was in active addiction. And while as I write this, it hasn't been super long in the grand scheme of things, it's certainly been longer than he’s ever been clean before.

Anyways, it’s been awhile and as a result, I often times feel disconnected from it. Which is a good thing, because it shows how I’m able to live my life without that dark shadow constantly looming overhead, but it has made it a little difficult to create for this site. And stemming from that, I often get thoughts about myself and what I'm doing here, none of which are too positive. Some lighter ones include:

What do I write about if I don’t remember how things used to be?

How can I expect to help others like me if I don’t feel like I can relate to that part of me anymore?

And while I feel thankful for the healing I've done and the fact that he’s sober, I also feel like I'm failing almost in this aspect of my life.

But here's the thing, these lessons and the information we get from them aren't just for helping us with our addict partners while they're in active addiction, or even in recovery. We can actually use what we've practiced in other areas of our lives as well.

For instance, the whole idea of dealing with uncertainty came back in my life when I lost my job last year.

Unrelated? At first glance, I thought so.

Like, really, how can losing my job be the same as not knowing whether or not my partner and father of our child was going to die of an overdose and if my life was going to fall apart at the drop of a hat?

And on top of that, the news honestly wasn't too surprising, given the fact that both myself and my employer had been feeling like change was imminent. And the way that it happened honestly couldn’t have been better. Like I said, it just felt like it was time.

But no matter how many good reasons there were for this change, it didn’t change the fact that I still felt unsteady, nervous, and honestly kind of scared as a result.

Lots of questions mulled around in my head:

What if I can’t pay for something important?

What if I can’t find another job fast enough, if at all?

What if, what if, what if?

At the bottom of it, it's clear to see that just like before, I was dealing with uncertainty on a very large scale.

But also just like before, the answer to getting out of that place was the same. Just like the time in 2019 when I got serious about my own recovery, when I was put in a situation where I was made to feel incredibly uncomfortable, the only way out was to get down to it and do the work. I finally understood back then that the old ways of complacency, thinking I could control it all, and relying on old beliefs just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I knew deep inside myself that I was ready for change, even if it was going to be difficult at first. Scary, even.

And that was exactly what was happening here.

Same lessons, different perspectives. And I mean, at least I didn’t feel like his life was in the balance this time, so this should be a little easier to work through, right?

So I got to revisit old themes, old beliefs, and tried-and-true methods to help me start that deeper journey up again of trimming off what didn't serve me anymore, and letting the newly discovered parts of myself start to take root and grow into something even better than I thought was possible.

Even still, it can be hard arguing with that part of myself, especially when I felt like I had it beaten and made into something that was no longer a threat. Still able to pop up, sure, but not nearly as debilitating as before. But what I finally realized is that this is just how things are in life. Recovery in any subject is never linear, and there will always be new things of varying complexity to unravel and decipher to make life better and shed some skin in to a newer, stronger, happier version of you.

It's happened before, it will happen again, and if I ever start to doubt the process, the proof is in the pudding. It's been done before! Oh so many, tiring but surprising, times.

So now, let me give you some quick tips on what I used this time around an intense form of dealing with uncertainty (from methods that can be best labeled as Old Reliables, to new ones I've found that get the job done), so that you can also use them wherever you are at in your own journey:

1. QUIET YOUR MIND: Ok, this should be number one on anyone's list. Especially if you're someone like me who has 157 tabs open in your brain at any given time. It's super duper easy to convince yourself that you need to try to keep track of everything happening in your life (you know, so that you can control it all), but it's not possible. It will only overstimulate and overwhelm you, and then before you know it you start snapping at your family or hiding in the dark in your room to finally figure out those loose ends, and that never ends well. You NEED to set aside time to practice the ancient art of mindfullness, and while it seems very unhelpful and terrible at first, I promise you, it's the only way out of the mental hellscape you've created. It's where you get the inner peace that will allow you to go in the direction you're supposed to go.

2. Journal!: This one used to seem like a chore to me, but now that I've figured out how to make it fun I don't mind it as much. The goal isn't to do one thing that is the right way, but to use it as a tool to get your thoughts out. Write to vent, to share how you're feeling deep down, to make sense of what's in your mind running around like crazy, to dream of what you want your life to look like, to write lists of what you appreciate right now this very minute in your life (I promise there is always something to appreciate). Think of it as the place to store your thoughts so that you can clear some space in your mind. For me, I've been making lists of what the "better" version of me would be doing right now. How would she be handling this? So I write down things like "Be more present and easy-going", "Not sweat the small stuff", "Have more fun and trust that things will work out", "Be confident and radiate pride". And then I try to incorporate more of that into my daily life. Because really, that's who I actually want to be. And that's the person who is waiting on the other side of all this work.

3. Follow Your Intuition: This one can be more tricky because there's a lot of trusting that needs to happen, but it can be a work in progress. I'm aiming to do more things out of inspired, inner action, as opposed to fear. What do I actually want to do right now? Is it really stress-apply to multiple jobs to feel like I'm doing something helpful? Or is it grab a snack and watch a movie with my daughter (without feeling guilty)? You know, things like that.

And I know, believe me I do, that this is hard. It's going to be a challenge to change your life in any way because it's new, and it's something totally opposite to what you're used to. Obviously, that's the whole point.

But I know from experience that it's going to be worth it, just like it always is. And there's no rush, no timeline, no steps that are too big or too small, no limit to breaks and pauses. Just a continuation of determination to keep going.

And while it seems hard when dealing with uncertainty, when you can’t see what’s next, what’s coming, where that next stepping stone is, sometimes you just need to have a little faith, flex that trust muscle, and step out into the unknown.

And just like always, I'm right there with ya.

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