A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping stone to the optimist.
-Eleonor Roosevelt

The process of recovery is necessarily imperfect. Without using this fact to justify missteps, it’s important to remember and honor its imperfect nature. At every stumbling block, indeed, with any experience of emotional discomfort, is an opportunity to apply and practice new ways of moving forward. With every stumbling block, we are given a choice, either we automatically react, encoding our discomfort as further evidence of the futility of life and our inability to change it, or we respond from a personal growth perspective. This means taking the time to process the situation, doing whatever is necessary to glean meaning and personal understanding of what the stumbling block is bringing up inside of us. Only then can we consciously choose to strengthen the aspects of ourselves that have been challenged by it. Our stumbling blocks are not always slips back to the specific addictions we are trying to move away from—although these are particularly disappointing. Often, we simply find that we are emotionally stuck in different ways or challenged to upgrade outdated navigational patterns that are no longer serving us. But always, hidden in discomfort is the choice to either unconsciously stumble further or to consciously step upward.

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