Dealing With The Ups & Downs of Life in Recovery

I can still remember getting off the plane, seeing palm trees, feeling the sunshine on my skin and the smell of salt in the air—I was home and it felt so good. I was high on life and excited to spread the news that I had changed my life for the better.

Having just completed rehab and feeling on top of the world, I was eager to start my life again and succeed just as I had in my treatment program. So, what did I do? I hit the ground running, of course! I got accepted back into college, found a great job and was HAPPY for the first time in a very long time.

White collars going to work
(Photo by By ImageFlow/

While this streak of happiness continued on for a few more months, the sparkle of being sober slowly faded and life simply became life again. You know, the day-in-day-out routine of waking up, going to work, getting to class on time and just trying to keep your head above water? Yeah, that one.

I was able to keep up with it for a while, but eventually, the mundaneness of life set in. Sure, I was succeeding in life, but I was bored. Life wasn’t as exciting as it was when I first got home. It was just life now and I had to do these things because society said so, but the fact of the matter was that I didn’t want to.

I expected life to be spectacular and amazing all the time within my new-founded sobriety. I expected it to be a constant adventure at every corner. But, it wasn’t and that just was unacceptable to me.

After all, I had been groomed to love the “fast lane” during my addiction. I wanted more, I wanted it now, and I wanted it all.

And, that mentality right there is what ALMOST got me right back into the thick of everything.

Testing the Waters in Recovery

In that moment, I was on a mission to find excitement and bring it into my life. Of course, my “go-to” for excitement was a rambunctious group of friends that I had promised to stay away from during my treatment program.

However, I ignored the warnings my counselors had given me many months ago and gave them a call. Well, they were going out for the night and it just seemed meant to be. So, I hopped in the shower, got ready and headed out for the night.

Over the next few months, I continued to hang out with this rambunctious group of friends. Being that I finally felt like I was living again, it just felt right to keep hanging out with them. After all, I was maintaining my sobriety so it was okay, right?

Figuring Out The Ups & Downs in Life

Within those few months though, even though I felt “alive,” my quality of life began to slowly fade. It wasn’t just my drive to excel in college and work—bad things were continually happening to me. One week I was sick, the next my computer broke, an argument with my parent’s blew way out of control, and the week after that I got in a minor fender-bender.

At first, I wanted to just take it as a series of unfortunate events, but then I remembered what my treatment program had taught me—when there’s a potential trouble source in your life, trouble will ensue in your own life without cause or reason.

To put it simply, I just wasn’t doing well and when I was, it was only for a short time before it all ended and I was back in the dumps. Just like a rollercoaster ride, going up is fun and you’re excited about life, but on the way down you’re wishing you never got on the ride, to begin with.

And, that’s exactly where I found myself; caught in the ups and downs of life.

Overcoming Trouble in Recovery

But, then it clicked just like when you line up that final side of the Rubix Cube perfectly to get every side matching.

It wasn’t that I was doing anything wrong, it was that I was letting the wrong influences into my life and that was causing my own life to go awry.

After some reflection, I knew what I had to do. I absolutely had to use the tools so graciously provided to me during my stay at Narconon Freedom Center. And, that is exactly what I did.

Yet again, I set out on another mission to have an exciting and happy life, but this time by following the steps provided to me at Narconon. First, I had to start by disconnecting from that group of friends and reassess where I was at in life. Then, I was able to successfully see where things had fallen off track and create a plan of action to get back on track.

Learning is Recovery

While I could have listened and applied my program steps the first time around and avoided the situation altogether, I didn’t. This is something we often find ourselves doing in recovery; testing the waters.

At the time, I had to know where my limits were. I had to keep pushing and pulling and testing until something broke. Many in recovery find themselves doing the same thing. Maybe it’s just in our nature to continually push our limits or maybe we just want to feel alive—whatever it may be testing the waters and pushing your limits doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Just remember what your program taught you. Use the skills given to you daily and keep on pushing forward to be the best you that you can be. You may fall a few times, but hey, no one learned how to run a marathon in a day.

And, most importantly, always remember that recovery is a learning process.

There will always be ups and downs along the way, but don’t let that stop you. Simply use the tools provided to you in your recovery, work hard and keep on persevering!



After completing the Narconon program in Michigan, Rebecca has dedicated her life to staying sober and helping others find sobriety using the techniques provided by Narconon.