As an avid fan of The Simpsons, I know this quote all too well. It airs in the 1997 episode Realty Bites; Homer is cutting into his food as he speaks with Marge and, slips himself into his plate, splattering his delicious mashed potatoes and peas all over the table. It was an iconically funny scene and this quote gained popularity on social media platforms and within the fanbase. The image above actually was slapped onto some Nintendo DS cases, and my brother had one!
But, is trying really the first step towards failure? The honest answer… Yes. But, it’s also the first step towards well being, health and anything else we want to accomplish in our everyday lives. This action can lead us to many different roads of happiness and fulfillment; bringing us into a new outlook with confidence in ourselves. Trying can lead us to success and failure, though the rewards from our successes and lessons from our failures are much too valuable to discard for often-used maladaptive coping strategies, and temporary relief. We are lost in the overwhelming nature of our negative thoughts. If I don’t try, I will never fail. Accurate. But you will also never get your driver’s license, never buy a house, never earn a promotion, never earn enough money for a fancy dou-dad you’ve been drooling over… Nor will you ever be satisfied with yourself and the outcomes of your decisions. Not to mention maintain any of these you’ve already acquired.
We may believe that things were/are, in some sense, easier when we were off the recovery path. We were practicing old but “effective” habits that were destroying us in entirety. They worked quickly, though temporarily. Our problems spiraled and they worsened, causing us to develop addictions and dependencies we thought we would never get ourselves out of unless we were no longer a being. Family and friends were pushed away by our negative behaviours, leaving us to feel alone and lost. Some of us are scarred up, have damaged organs or brains, no longer have somewhere to live, are unemployed, etc. These coping strategies caused us emotional and physical disorientation.
We face recovery with fear and believe that if we do try, we will ultimately fail. We do not consider that, through those failures, there will be more instances of prosperity. We are in a state of dismay, in case we let ourselves down and end up relapsing; being worst off then we were before the “recovery”. So, what do we do? We turn off our rational mind and we decide that continuing down a self destructive road is what we feel is best. We don’t want to let ourselves down, so isn’t this the best option?
No. It’s not.
We had enough courage to even consider recovery and that was astonishing. It was a step in the right direction to our human desire of finally being happy, and being free from our self-destruction. We decided to neglect this idea because it’s too “far out”, we didn’t find ourselves deserving or able, or “we just aren’t ready”. Considering recovery is being ready. Maybe not in our full form of comfort but we have already begun the recovery process and we have a belief it will work. With trying comes a positive result.
And if we have faith in this recovery, yet are hit with a heavy situation that knocks us down and makes coping very complicated, we may want to relapse. Wanting to relapse is a very natural thing in recovery, but those who keep working at it that will see success. We, in the moment, no matter how intense or calm, are in control of our actions and behaviours. We MUST remain in control at all times and not lose focus of our goal.
Evaluating the situation in question can also help us learn to deal with things in a healthier manner. We can assess, by considering all factors of the boulder that’s landed in front of us, whether this was self-induced or a natural life event that was out of our control. Being cheated on and having someone you know commit suicide is not your fault, but becoming homeless because you didn’t pay your bills, couldn’t maintain income due to neglect, lack of proper maintenance or loss of job is something you have control over.
Why try? Because life GETS GOOD WHEN WE TRY and EVEN BETTER when we KEEP TRYING and REFUSE TO GIVE UP! The SOMETHING that happens that destroys our life is OUR DECISION TO RELAPSE. The THING that REALLY BREAKS US and causes us to bottom-out emotionally and spiritually is a BROKEN PROMISE to ourselves… the promise we made at the start of recovery.
Out-Of-Control DBT-CBT Workbook, Melanie Gordon Sheet, PhD. (Chapter 3 – Pathways To Recovery. P 82)
Learning to maintain our life when times get tough is extremely important to keep things from falling apart. In the Out-Of-Control DBT-CBT workbook, written by Melanie Gordon Sheets, PhD. helps in teaching recovery maintenance by concentration on utmost priorities that take place in our lives. We can expect ourselves to maintain decent hygiene and fulfilling life’s daily requirements, attending our therapeutic events (which we will need in this time), though we will not overwork ourselves by putting our energy in the extras, and having everything topple over, leading us to yet another relapse.
In crisis, where relapse feels right at your finger tips, you can employ many simple but potent coping strategies to bring you out of that state and continue on the recovery path. Utilizing a coping kit or deep breathing techniques are popular choices, though, you can practice hobbies, go to positive social events (tea, bowling, etc.) or craft on your own in solidarity.
(see Coping Kit On The Go https://slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/coping-kit-on-the-go/ )
Though we may have days in which we are down and feel as though we cannot keep working at this recovery, that it is tiring us out, we should never give up on it. By giving up, we bring ourselves further from our goal and we will let ourselves down, lowering our self-esteem. You are capable of recovery, just like the thousands of others that have accomplished it and are living happy lives, despite their past circumstances and experiences.
Trying is to first step towards a long and healthy life.
Be mindful and ask yourself, “What will best help my recovery right now?”