You Can Handle More Than You Think
There’s a common saying in the rooms of 12-step meetings, which reads, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Regardless of your beliefs in religion or spirituality, this is a saying to contemplate because so many people can relate to that feeling of being overwhelmed. Early recovery and other challenges in life push you to a point where you say, “I can’t handle any more,” and this is why the people in meetings have this saying. Based on what we know about human resilience, you can handle a lot more than you think.
What does Science Say?
A very popular field of study in psychology is around the subject of hedonic adaptation. In short, hedonic adaptation is our innate ability to adapt and adjust to any situation over time. Your human resilience is like a muscle that gets stronger as you continue to live and thrive. At first, when you’re a child, there’s not much that you can handle alone, and this is why we need the support of our caregivers. As you get older, you can handle a little bit more “weight”, and eventually, you become even stronger. Over the years, you’re able to handle more and more, and if you look back at your life, you can see how there are situations you thought you’d never get through, but you did.
One famous study in the 1970s compared lottery winners to people who were in accidents that were so bad that the people lost the ability to use their legs. They wanted to see what life satisfaction would be like over time. For the lottery winners, there was an immediate boost in happiness after winning the lottery, but a year later, they were only a little happier than they were before. What’s more fascinating is what happened to the accident victims. Right after the accident, these people were extremely depressed, but a year later, they were only moderately less happy than the lottery winners. This is because both groups adapted to their new circumstances.
Adapting to Your Recovery
For months or years, you’ve been turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to deal with life on life’s terms. Eventually, you came to a point where that stopped working, so you decided to get sober. During these early days, weeks, and months of sobriety, you see how difficult it can be because you don’t have other ways to deal with the challenges life throws at you. This is one of the reasons that most relapses happen within the first year of recovery, and even more happen within the first 30 to 90 days. When you understand hedonic adaptation, you gain a sense of hope because you realize that over time, sobriety and this new way of living will become easier.
The Life that You Deserve
The best part about recovery is that you will benefit from more than hedonic adaptation. Those who have been able to maintain long-term sobriety aren’t just as happy as they used to be before they became addicted, but they become even happier. Sobriety gives people a new sense of life and gratitude that most people will never experience. Those who recover find a new meaning and purpose in life that elevates their happiness to extraordinary levels. So, if you’re new in recovery, just know that you’re going to adapt, and life is going to be better than you could have possibly imagined as long as you put in the work and take it one day at a time.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, give Enlightened Solutions a call today at 833-233-7336.