Let Go of the Rope
I’ve been sober long enough to know that the Serenity Prayer is an amazing way to relieve stress when I am feeling anxious or overwhelmed. However, lately I’ve been struggling with all of the areas of life where I don’t have control. From COVID to sifting through fact vs fiction to my kids starting school remotely, it seems like there is just so much I don’t have control over. I find that anxiety is taking over my body as soon as I wake up and try to get going. It’s like a tingling feeling that overtakes me as I open my eyes, and on those days, I know I am going to struggle. It’s at that moment everyday that I make a choice to either allow the anxiety to consume me, or rely on the serenity prayer for acceptance and realize there is very little I can actively do to change the way I feel. “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” (Big Book, p. 417). When I am able to accept my anxiety as happening, I am able to let go of the control it has on me just a little bit. When I am able to recognize that while I feel terrible today, I might not feel terrible tomorrow, I am more able to get through the day unscathed. At times, it is crippling. All I want to do is sleep because sleep quiets my mind. Or, all I want to do is exercise because exercising forces my mind to protect my body and relives it from the mental maladies I face. Yet, I can’t do either of these things all the time. I have children and a husband and a job that I must continue to nurture so that all are present on my good days.
I once had a doctor who taught me to “let go of the rope”. She said when things are out of my control, I have to imagine them at the other end of a rope, pulling as hard as they can. If I pull back, I am creating more tension and more stress on the rope. However, if I let go, the tension eases and I am able to take a deep breath and move forward. I have to let go of the rope more throughout each day than I am proud to admit, but I find that metaphor has really helped me in realizing what I have control over and what I don’t. If COVID is at the end of the rope, I have no control over how it impacts my life. I have to let go of that rope. If remote learning is at the end of the rope, I have no control over how that is going to go or what the teachers are going to do. I have to let go of that rope. If anxiety is at the end of the rope, I can exercise and sleep to ease the pain, but I also have to let go of that rope as best I can.
Learning what to do when I don’t have control has been a lifesaver in my sobriety. There is so much I don’t have control over right now, but all of it has to be handled one day at a time. Sometimes you just have to let go of the rope.
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